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Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Call 511. WSDOT’s driver information phone line provides real-time traffic, incident and closure information. Out-of-state callers can dial 1-800-695-ROAD (7623). TTY users can call 1-800-833-6388.
OLYMPIA – Today’s western Washington snowfall, as much as 14 inches in some spots in Pierce and Thurston counties, now gives way to a bigger concern on the roads: ice you can’t see.
Forecasts call for dropping temperatures overnight and wet roadways turning to ice. This dicey combination will cause problems for drivers who travel too fast. On roadways in the greater Seattle area that may not have accumulations of compact snow and ice, the ice that forms overnight may be particularly hard to detect.
Temperatures are expected to range from the single digits in some areas to just below freezing in others before climbing into the 40s by Friday. In central and eastern Washington, drivers can expect compact snow and ice on the roads as more snow moves through. The Palouse region continues to see heavy snow and challenging driving conditions.
The Washington State Department of Transportation urges drivers to use caution and drive for conditions, especially those behind the wheel of large trucks and buses.
Since Saturday, WSDOT crews have been in full snow and ice-fighting mode. They have treated highways with anti-icing materials and salt, plowed snow and ice off roadways, and worked with the State Patrol to clear spinouts and minor collisions.
“I want to give a big thank you to all of our emergency responders, including WSDOT crews, who have been treating and clearing roads around the clock and will do so until we are out of this,” said Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. “We continue to ask drivers to know before you go, to be prepared for possible delays and to drive according to the conditions.”
WSDOT gives this advice to drivers:
- When snow and cold temperatures mix with heavy commutes, drivers should expect backups and potential lengthy delays.
- Drivers can prepare for snow and ice by checking travel and roadway conditions on the WSDOT website and packing winter weather supplies, including tire chains.
- For travelers or non-travelers, this means it is decision time. Staying in? Have a full tank of gas, just in case. Going out? Pack tire chains and a winter car kit and drive for conditions. Also, know the traction and chain requirements.
Know before you go:
- WSDOT offers several ways to get up-to-date weather, traffic and construction information before hitting the road.
- Call 511. WSDOT’s driver information phone line provides real-time traffic, incident and closure information. Out-of-state callers can dial 1-800-695-ROAD (7623). TTY users can call 1-800-833-6388.
- Sign up for email updates and social media tools such as Facebook.
- Follow traveler information on Twitter @wsdot, @wsdot_traffic, @wsdot_passes, @wsdot_tacoma, @SnoqualmiePass.
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