26 January, 2009

Upcoming Winter Storm (Maybe)

District Prepares for Upcoming Winter Storm

(Washington, DC) The National Weather Service is predicting periods of snow are probable between 5 am and noon Tuesday, January 27, with a possible accumulation of one to two inches that can cause slippery conditions. The low tonight will be 27 degrees. The high temperature tomorrow will be 34 degrees with a low tomorrow night of 31 degrees. Heavier precipitation will develop late Tuesday afternoon into Tuesday night with the forecast of snow changing to sleet and freezing rain Tuesday night and then all rain Wednesday.

Deployment plans are in place and crews are prepped and ready to clear snow and ice from the District’s 2,950 lane miles of roadway and 241 bridges. Crews will deploy around 4 am Tuesday with 124 heavy plows and 82 light plows. Crews already have pre-treated many of the elevated areas including bridges, ramps and overpasses in an effort to eliminate icy conditions caused by the recent below-freezing temperatures hitting the region.

“This storm will hover over the area for more than a day, so we urge residents to be careful as they go about the city and give the trucks plenty of space to do their work,” said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “We also hope property owners will spread salt on the sidewalks around their homes and businesses so pedestrians, especially our children, get to school and work safely.”

The District Snow Team (District Department of Transportation and Department of Public Works) treats 69 primary and secondary routes, 82 residential routes and 75 miles of major roadways and Interstate Highways (part of the National Highway System).

When fully deployed, the team’s resources include nearly 300 pieces of equipment, capacity filled snow domes and over 100 closed circuit television (CCTV) traffic cameras to be used to track progressive treatment and to monitor the surface conditions of the roadway.

In addition to the fleet of heavy and light plows, loaders and spray trucks, the District closely monitors National Weather Service forecasts, and uses an automatic vehicle location system, geo-spatial information system (GIS) and road weather information systems (RWIS). Each of these help the team determine anticipated roadway conditions, areas in need of snow and/or ice removal and current roadway temperatures.

Additional information on the snow deployment plan may be found at www.ddot.dc.gov.

DDOT and DPW remind commuters and residents to:

· Clear sidewalks.

· Help your elderly or disabled neighbors remove snow from steps and sidewalks.

· Clear catch basins and fire hydrants.

· Remember that driving on ice is significantly different than driving on snow.

· Use extreme caution and maintain safe speeds and distances from other vehicles.

· Remember even a 4-wheel drive SUV does not perform well in ice and additional safety measures should be followed.

· Be aware of road conditions, particularly black ice which can be deceptive in its appearance giving the driver a false sense of security on the road.

· Watch for slippery bridge decks, even when the rest of the pavement is in good condition. Bridge decks will ice up sooner than the adjacent pavement.

· Remember to keep a safe distance from emergency and snow vehicles and please use caution when attempting to pass a snowplow. Give the drivers plenty of room to safely do their jobs.

· Clear all the snow and ice from your vehicle's windows and lights - even the hood and roof - before driving.

· Please do not put snow in the street. Put all cleared snow, from parked cars and sidewalks, in the "tree box," front yard, or between the curb and sidewalk.

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