WEATHER ALERT: Area preparing for potentially hazardous winter storm


As the forecast becomes more focused, crews from the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) were standing ready for the snowstorm predicted to begin Tuesday afternoon and into Wednesday morning. Officials said DelDOT maintenance forces are spending the pre-storm hours preparing the trucks and pre-treating additional roads.

Staff, they said, are also making plans for how they will monitor the weather forecasts tonight to determine exactly when crews will begin snow removal operations to keep the roads safe throughout Delaware.

Crews focused Monday on advance pre-treating work with brine. The goal of those efforts was to apply the salt and water mixtures a day early, to avoid a possible time constraint if they had waited until Tuesday.

DelDOT pre-treats roads with a salt and water mixture known as brine. It is designed to prevent or slow down any accumulation on the road. The water content of brine allows it to be effective days after it is applied to the road surface.

As the storm becomes heavier, plowing operations will commence once accumulations reach measurable levels. Major routes will be given the highest priority to be open and passable.

A particular concern, officials said, is the timing of the storm. As much of the snow is expected to fall overnight, hazardous road conditions are expected for the morning rush hour. Crews will work through the night to reduce these dangers, officials said, but motorists should prepare for snow-covered and/or icy roads Wednesday morning.

To receive the most accurate and up-to-date information on conditions and incidents on this snow event, the public can visit DelDOT’s Web site at http://www.dedot.gov, the DelDOT Twitter account at www.twitter.com/delawaredot, or the DelDOT Facebook account at www.facebook.com/delawaredot.

DelDOT is also now offering answers to some frequently asked questions, such as DelDOT snow and ice event procedures, emergency numbers and information on driving restrictions, in a FAQ online at http://deldot.gov/home/faq_snow/.

AAA: Clear cars of ice and snow to avoid being a hazard

AAA is reminding drivers to clear snow and ice off their vehicles before leaving their driveways or parking lots.

“Don’t compromise safety. It’s more than common courtesy to remove snow and ice from your car - it prevents crashes and injuries,” said Jim Lardear, director of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “In Pennsylvania, you are liable if a chunk of snow or ice injures or kills a pedestrian or fellow driver. AAA advises drivers to take a few extra minutes to clean off the ice and snow from their vehicles."

With ice still on the ground in many areas and temperatures predicted to drop below freezing, Lardear said it is advisable to drive slowly, especially in neighborhoods whose roadways aren’t always treated.

AAA’s Top Five Tips Following a Snow/Ice Storm:

(1) Remove ice or snow. Take time to remove the snow from the entire car so it doesn’t blow onto your windshield or the windshields of other drivers. Clear windows, mirrors and lights.

(2) Defrost your locks. Use a lighter to quickly heat the metal tip of your electronic car key so that it can slip into the lock or se a lock de-icer. Push car door inward slightly to break the ice around it. Avoid frozen locks by spraying the rubber gasket with dry silicone to prevent ice from adhering to the lock.

(3) Watch the ice. If you hit an icy patch on the road, steer in the direction you want to go. If the drive wheels start to spin or slide while going up a hill, ease off the accelerator slightly and then gently resume speed. Don't use cruise control in precipitation and freezing temperatures.

(4) Check visibility. Make sure windshield wipers and defrosters are in good working order.

(5) Watch others. Now is not the time to be distracted by electronic devices or anything else. Watch other vehicles. Actions by other drivers will alert you to problems and give you extra seconds to react.