It was all hands on deck Monday, Feb. 3, at the Gainesville Texas Department of Transportation yard as crews prepared trucks for potential icy roadways.
Early Monday morning, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for Cooke County. The watch, which is in effect from midnight Tuesday, Feb. 4, through Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 5, means hazardous travel is likely with ice predicted to form on bridges and roadways. The watch states freezing rain and sleet could start overnight Tuesday and change over to snow by daybreak Wednesday. One to three inches of wintry precipitation is expected to accumulate, according to the NWS.
Roger Krahl, maintenance section supervisor with the TxDOT office in Gainesville, said crews were expected to put an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 gallons of brine on I-35 and U.S. 82 on Monday in Cooke County.
Brine is a saltwater solution used to pretreat roads to help prevent icing in inclement weather.
TxDOT trucks were also being fitted Monday morning with snow plows and V-box spreaders in preparation for anything Mother Nature throws this way. V-boxes are used to apply deicing materials, such as sand, to the roadways.
Krahl recommends motorists stay about 100 feet away from any TxDOT trucks on the roadway.
Adele Lewis, TxDOT spokeswoman, said Gainesville crews will be on 12-hour shifts starting midnight Tuesday until the storm’s effects are under control.
She said brine can be washed away by rain so she cautions motorists to not get a sense of security just because the roadways were treated.
“Where and how much rain matters,” Lewis said. “And conditions can be totally different five miles away. Also, too much snow or too much freezing rain can coat a roadway quickly, burying the brine under the frozen precipitation.”
Lewis advises motorists to monitor drivetexas.org for traffic conditions during the storm.
As of late Monday afternoon, the NSW forecast the colder air to begin Tuesday morning.
Bianca Garcia, a meteorologist with the NWS in Fort Worth, said Tuesday’s high of 50 degrees will hit midmorning before temperatures fall into the 40s. By Tuesday evening, the low is forecast to be 30 degrees.
Fifteen to 20 mph winds out of the north will be behind the front, Garcia said.
Garcia said it’s hard to tell when the freezing rain and sleet will transition into snow.
“Right now we are saying around daybreak [Wednesday],” she said.
The high on Wednesday should be 33. However, it will feel like the upper teens, Garcia said.
Meteorologists forecast Wednesday’s low to be 25 degrees.
“It should slowly warm up to the 40s on Thursday,” Garcia said.