Crews Prepare For Possible Wintry Blast

We received our first report of icy conditions Monday night just before 6 p.m. Tex-Dot says crews worked an overpass on Highway 64 and I-20 in Canton.

Dump trucks full of a sand mixture are available and ready to go across East Texas. City and Tex-Dot crews are on stand-by Monday night to respond if needed. Bridges will be the first spots to become dangerous if Old Man Winter throws some ice our way.

In case that does happen, crews spent the day making sure we're ready. Tex-Dot filled dozens of trucks with a sand mixture, which will primarily be poured on possible trouble spots along the interstate.

The City of Tyler also has its two sand trucks gassed up and crews ready to respond if ice becomes a problem.

"We have about 38 employees in the street and drainage department that are on standby to be called out if necessary," said Greg Morgan, Director of Tyler Utilities and Public Works.

"Our crews will work 24 hours a day if they have to and, certainly, when the weather gets this way you start thinking maybe you've had it easy over the summer without a whole lot of call-outs. But I'm sure that's all about to change," said Larry Krantz with the Texas Department of Transportation.

Many city departments have supervisors to monitor the weather overnight. Tex-Dot warns it could become dangerous and you not even know it.

"Ordinarily you don't see icy patches," said Krantz.  "That's one of the problems with them, and they do tend to sneak up on motorists that aren't ready for them. So as we get into these conditions where it's windy especially and the temperatures are low and humidity is high, like it is right now, these are good conditions for the bridges and overpasses to start freezing."

Oncor said they also have local crews on stand-by this time of year. It could all be for nothing, but crews agree it's better to be safe than sorry.

"If conditions do ice-up, the best course of action is to not travel on the roadways," said Morgan.

Just in case it does ice-over remember to drive slower than normal and keep plenty of distance between other cars. If you hit a sudden icy patch and find yourself in a skid, remember to steer in the direction of the skid. And to slow down, pump your brakes slowly and gently so they don't lock-up. But if you have anti lock brakes, experts say pumping your brakes is not the best thing to do. Instead, just hold the breaks down so the computer can recognize you are in a skid.

Courtney Lane, Reporting