“Better safe than sorry,” DOT engineer says. “If you can, stay at home.”
Georgia Department of Transportation crews will be out in full force tonight prepping for what regional DOT engineer Sam Wheeler expects to be icy, dangerous conditions in Pickens tomorrow.
“I’m not a weather forecaster, but from the reports I’ve been watching we’re going to see rain this evening, which will turn to snow around midnight and go through the early morning hours,” said Wheeler Sunday afternoon. “After that the winds are going to pick up and the temperatures are going to drop fast. I expect black ice and solid ice, based on the forecast.”
Wheeler said the DOT is trying to prevent rain, snow or sleet from freezing on contact by applying a mixture of salt and gravel to state highways later this evening and tomorrow morning, but when temperatures get extremely low – as they are expected to – they don’t have a line of defense in the DOT arsenal.
“When those temperatures get down to one or two degrees, there’s no chemical that we can use that’s going to melt that ice,” he said. “We won’t be able to get ice cleared until the temperatures rise.”
Wheeler said there is a chance, if the wind comes in before the low temperatures can freeze roads, that some icy conditions may be mitigated, but he is still planning on roads to be too dangerous for motorists.
“Sometimes the wind can dry off the road and prevent ice, but if that wind doesn’t get ahead of the temperatures we’ll have that ice,” he said. “The conditions are all there.”
What does that mean for your morning commute? Wheeler advises all non-emergency employees to err on the side of caution and stay home.
“When these conditions exist we all need to take extra precaution,” Wheeler said. “There are good chances of slick and dangerous roadways and there is no sense to take risk. Stay home. I know I would I if could. What we want is for people to be safe.”