This past weekend, parts of North Texas got a first taste of snow flurries heading into this winter season.
Road crews with the Texas Department of Transportation sprayed brine, a saltwater mix, on elevated roadways across the region as a precaution.
But how much are officials – and you – actually ready when the serious stuff hits?
“Basically, we have a variety of tools in the toolbox that we use to address these winter weather conditions that typically hit the time of year,” said TxDOT Fort Worth District spokesperson, Val Lopez.
TXDOT has been restoring its stockpiles heading into this winter, which includes the heavy-hitting magnesium chloride, the salt-based deicer that breaks the bond of ice to the roads. Crews only bring that out when the weather gets really bad.
Crews also have a hefty pile of rock salt for traction. TXDOT has spent months replenishing supplies of material and training staff ahead of the winter season.
“Currently, we have enough for several multi-day events. We have something in the range of 11,000 cubic yards of solid materials,” said Lopez. “We also have a quarter million gallons of brine that we use to pretreat. So at this point, we’re very well stocked up and ready for multi-day events.”
The winter storms we’ve seen over the last couple of years have certainly tested officials.
“After each event, we look at our best practices to see what we’ve done right and what we can improve upon,” said Lopez. “Within recent years, what we’ve done is increase our bringing. We’ve become very aggressive with that, the pre-treating of the roadways. We found that to be very effective. So that’s something we’re really engaging in, especially the last two or three seasons. And also we’ve added additional plows to our district, especially in the Tarrant County area.”
Lopez said there is also plenty that drivers themselves need to be doing right now to prepare themselves for the winter season.
Don’t wait until the forecast looks bad and the lines get long to get your tires fixed. Make sure you plan ahead to have all-weather tires with good tread installed on your vehicle. Experts also recommend scheduling an appointment to have the fluid levels, brakes, and battery checked – as well as other tune-ups – done and out of the way before a winter weather event shows up in the forecast.
TXDOT is also reminding drivers to put together a winter kit of supplies in their vehicles. The kit can include:
BlanketFlashlightExtra batteriesExtra gloves, hat, scarfTow ropeIce scrapersHand warmersMatches, lighterCandleSmall bags with extra supplies like non-perishable food and water