Saturday, February 21, 2015

Weather still plagues roadways

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KyTC) crews continue to battle a variety of weather-related issues on highways.

At this hour, air temperatures are moving into the 35-degree range which has helped to lower the opportunity for freezing of road surfaces.

Normally, pavement temperatures are 2 to 3 degrees warmer than the ambient air temperature, which helps to activate salt when it is spread on road surfaces.  However, due to bitter cold temperatures over the last several days, pavement tempertaures have lagged behind the air temperature, in some cases as much as 2 to 3 degrees cooler.

KyTC continues to ask everyone to avoid unnecessary travel due to the multiple hazards of ice and spot flooding. Crews are attempting to mark flooded areas with "Water Over Road" signs. However, crews may not be immediately made aware of areas with standing water.

If you are out and encounter flooded areas that are not marked, please take note of the specific location using a mile marker, crossroad or other landmark and immediately report it to 911 so it can be reported to highway personnel for appropriate action.

KyTC District 1 Snow and Ice Team reports Paducah area counties are experiencing pooling of water on the roadway, especially on bridges. While it may not meet the criteria for flooding, it creates a very real driving hazard. Snow that has been plowed from highway driving surfaces earlier this week is piled on top of drain grates.

In some cases, those snow windrows are 3 to 4 feet deep and are hard-packed following extreme lows earlier this week.  That keeps water from running of the bridge deck. Crews have been attempting to dig out some drains and have used snow plows to push accumulated slush and water off bridge decks.

The main concern is that as temperatures again drop below freezing later tonight, ponding water will dilute salt that has been spread and allow the accumulated water to freeze.  KyTC has a secondary concern with the potential for vehicles to hydroplane when they hit standing water. Almost all District 1 counties have reported having to deal with water-covered bridges.  

Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing around 10 p.m. and stay down into Sunday when the projected high is in the 31-degree range. However, as the sun comes out, pavement temperatures are expected to rise to about 34 degrees by around 11 a.m., assisting road clearing efforts.

Avoid unnecessary travel and use extreme caution if you do get out and about today.