Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) workers prepared quickly for what they thought would turn Mississippi into a winter wonderland after receiving confirmation from emergency officials.
“The National Weather Service and Mississippi Emergency Management Association (MEMA) told us to expect freezing conditions and possible snow and ice accumulations, so work was postponed on most of the major projects around the state.”
Crew members with MDOT immediately took action because of the winter prediction.
“It’s not common, but we do see storms of this type, we do see snow and sleet in these conditions on a very regular basis; you know a couple of times a year. So, we have the equipment; we have it staged in the area where it is most common, mostly in the northern parts of the state. We have snow plows; we have salt spreaders and things like that.”
It was one work operation that could have been shut down for hours.
“18 hours to 24 hours, we just wanted to see what conditions could be, because with the weather. We’re never actually sure what road conditions would be after a storm comes through. With this one we were lucky.”
Sometimes luck is not always the case in winter storms.
“When there is ice on the road surface, or there is snow, or freezing rain; especially in an overnight storm like this one: there is definitely potential for a dangerous condition, accidents that can be very tragic.”
After evaluating road conditions, the decision was made to resume normal operations.
“Snow didn’t accumulate; there wasn’t a lot of freezing, so we were able to resume normal operations.”
Because of severe warnings, crews kept a close eye on the winter storm; from start to finish when it hit the area.
“We monitored the storm as it came through overnight last night starting of course in the northwest corner of the state, that was the first part to be impacted and as it moved through we got reports.”
The temperatures are continuing to drop which means one thing.
“Today, there is still sub-freezing temperatures coming through, so we’ll be monitoring those.”