WACO, TX — A Winter Storm Watch in effect for most Central Texas and the Brazos Valley for Sunday going into the work week.
That's why the Texas Department of Transportation and Central Texas county officials are taking steps to ensure residents are safe and communities are prepared for the possibility of accumulating snowfall.
On Friday morning, the Texas Department of Transportation Waco District began applying pre-treatment to bridges and overpasses district-wide.
"Beginning Friday morning Waco District maintenance personnel mobilized earlier this morning to apply pre-treatment across the district," Jake Smith of TxDOT Waco said. "So that's McLennan County and the surrounding counties. Mainly on overpasses and bridges all throughout the district, including the mainlanes of the I-35 B project in Waco."
The pre-treatment is a brine solution or a mix of salt and water, Smith said.
"What this pre-treatment does is it helps prevent precipitation from adhering to the road as it falls to the roadway," Smith said.
TxDot's Waco District includes McLennan, Bell, Falls, Limestone, Hamilton, Hill, Bosque, and Coryell Counties.
Robert L. Harrell, the Emergency Management Coordinator in Coryell County is one of the many county officials in Central Texas, keeping an eye on the forecast this weekend due to Sunday's Winter Storm Watch.
"We're scheduled tomorrow morning to have a weather webinar with the National Weather Service about the threat, and then we'll have one on Sunday about impacts," he said. "The big concern is always roadways icing and or power outages due to trees falling across power lines."
Weather is fluid, and there are always changes, Harrell explained.
"I would like to see none," Harrell said. "But we're always prepared. In the meantime, we've contacted our road and bridge departments and cities are aware of inclement weather coming in."
While he hopes there won't be any travel issues, he's prepared. He has people across the county trained through to the weather service as weather spotters.
"Another tool I have is I have some great folks out there in the field that monitor the situation and call it back to me," he explained.
Smith said steps drivers can take are pretty straight forward if they have to drive amid wintry weather conditions.
"Allowing more following distance between yourself, and the vehicle in front of you, buckling up and your other
basic driving safety actions like eliminating your distractions by putting away the cell phone," Smith said.
- Buckle up
- Reduce your speeds; allow yourself more time to reach your destination
- Increase your following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you
- Exercise caution on bridges, overpasses, ramps, turns and shaded area that usually freeze
- Do not use lane control or lane assist
- Slow down and move for emergency vehicles
However, the best tip drivers can take is not to drive at all, said Smith.
"Look, the best tip for winter weather driving is to stay home and not drive at all."
Both Smith and Harrell agree it will be necessary for Central Texans to stay weather aware this weekend and pay attention to any changes in the forecast this weekend going into the workweek.
You can check travel conditions before you go by visiting DriveTexas.org. First Alert 25 Weather will have frequent updates throughout the weekend on your forecast, and you can updating weather alerts in Central Texas here.