We have just come through Winter Weather Preparedness Week and apparently not a moment too soon. Winter weather alerts go into effect tonight, including three in Walton, Gwinnett and the adjoining counties of Barrow and Oconee. Walton County is under three current alerts, a Winter Weather Advisory, a Wind Advisory and a Flood Watch. Click or tap on this link to keep up with these and any subsequent alerts over the weekend.
Chances are, in true local tradition, that you may find shelves are already beginning to empty in the bread and milk aisles. In the meantime, officials have some words of wisdom on how to ensure that you don’t join the ranks of those negatively impacted by any extreme weather conditions this weekend. Capt. Jack Armstrong with Monroe Fire Department has this advice.
” Snow and ice accumulations are possible, and travel conditions could become extremely hazardous. Monitor local media and be prepared to adjust travel plans as conditions change,” officials noted in the press release. “Winter weather preparation has been a topic of discussion all week, supplies are stockpiled, brine is ready, crews are on call and the snow-removal fleet has expanded — the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is prepared for winter.”
Officials advise that the Department has more than 385 snow removal units that are ready to be deployed should the need arise and “a well-thought-out emergency plan is in place to relocate district resources to the most needed areas during an event.”
“GDOT continues to enhance its preparations for extreme winter weather to treat impacted interstates and highways before, during and after a snow or icing event,” Bryan Haines, GDOT’s Director of Emergency Operations said in the release. “Our number one goal is to treat the interstates and state routes and keep them safe and passable, especially for emergency vehicles.”
GDOT has the following equipment, materials, and staff that are readily available for any winter weather event
- More than 1,800 employees on call
- Thirty-three 5,000 gallon brine tankers
- Capacity to store 450,000 gallons of brine
- Ability to produce 20,000 gallons of brine per hour
- 65,460 tons of gravel
- 55 road weather sensors
- 385 snow removal units
- More than 54,000 tons of salt to cover 39,900 lane miles
GDOT notes that according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this year’s winter season in Georgia is expected to bring colder and “wetter-than-average” conditions. This could mean there are higher chances for black ice to form on bridges, overpasses, and roadways. GDOT provides helpful how-to videos and blog posts on how to prepare for winter weather. Watch: GDOT Spokesperson Natalie Dale provides great tips on how to prepare for winter weather.
GDOT is also urging motorists to “buckle up, use caution, minimize unnecessary travel, and reduce travel speed, especially in the overnight hours to ensure that Georgia DOT crews have room to treat and clear roadways. For the most up-to-date travel information, visit www.511ga.org or call 511 to stay informed!