COLUMBUS, Neb. – The concoction of rain, snow, wind and a major temperature drop predicted to hit the state overnight, could result in a flash freeze, crippling some eastern Nebraska roadways.
A winter storm front is expected to hit north-central Nebraska Wednesday evening, clearing the southeast part of the state by late Thursday morning.
According to Nebraska Department of Transportation communications specialist Jeni Campano, the mix of rain into snow, combined with blustering winds, is really what could make the roads freeze quickly.
“It’ll drop the surface of the roads quicker, when the temperature drops that quickly, so that’s where that windchill factor comes in,” says Campano. “If that rain turns over into snow and is doing what they’re predicting, that’s when visibility is really going to drop,.”
Campano says NDOT employees have already prepped the trucks and are getting sleep during the day on Wednesday in preparation of going out and fighting the icy roads around midnight.
“We try to do as much as we can, then the temperature drops that fast, we work as hard as we can. That doesn’t necessarily mean the road is going to be melted when folks get up and get ready to go to work in the morning,” says Campano.
NDOT will evaluate the roads overnight and quickly decide on a range of materials: from salt and brine, to other chemical compounds – that can help melt the ice.
“Each one of those have a different point in temperature that really matters, we try to look at what materials we have out there and what makes the most sense,” says Campano.
Campano also recommends that if you do decide to go out on the roads, to look at the weather before you leave, give yourself plenty of time and to bring coats, blankets, water and other items in case your vehicle is stalled.