That old wintry mix -- now let's see if it sticks

Slippery roads likely today; workers get a late start spreading brine

February 4, 2009 

2 to 4: That's the number of inches of snow you may have had to walk through to pick up this newspaper this morning

37: That is today's forecast high temperature. So, you can expect the snow to stick around at least a little while. Brisk winds between 11 and 15 mph with gusts as high as 26 mph could send the wind chill into the teens.

81,000: That's how many gallons of brine Raleigh's public works crews were mixing Tuesday evening to spread overnight on roadways in anticipation of the snow.

The brine sticks to roads and keeps ice from bonding to the pavement during the first few hours of a storm.

Statewide, the N.C. Department of Transportation has 150,000 tons of salt in storage. About 6,000 DOT employees are available to assist with winter weather response efforts, officials said.

Raleigh Supervisor Daniel Kirsch said that ordinarily he and his drivers would have started 48 hours before the suspected snowfall, but Monday's rain nixed that plan.

"If it's supposed to start as rain, it's no good to do this." The rain simply washes the brine off the roadways as soon as it is applied.

Kirsch is from Long Island, N.Y. There, "if there's 2 feet of snow, you still go to school," he said.

It wasn't clear whether Triangle schoolkids would get a reprieve. Most area school systems said they were waiting to see the conditions of the roads after the wintry weather arrived.

Thursday's forecast doesn't promise much relief. The high is expected to be about 35 degrees.

Friday should be a warm and sunny 55.

Get the latest closings and delays, as well as weather tips at newsobserver.com/news.

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