LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - Weather forecasts call for rain to turn to sleet and snow Thursday morning creating icy roads and sidewalks. The change in conditions is a huge challenge for the Missouri Department of Transportation, which is tasked with keeping roads clear.
In the Kansas City metro area, MoDOT is monitoring weather forecasts and is prepared to send road crews and trucks out overnight to treat and prevent ice from forming.
“How we'll treat [the roads] depends on what we do get,” explained Markl Johnson with MoDOT. “If it's a rain, sleet mix, obviously we can't use salt brine because it will wash away. So what we'll do is use a mixture of that and rock salt. With rock salt, you can get a better traction on the roadway.”
Johnson asked drivers to adjust their driving habits to reflect the road conditions. It’s best to slow down, plan ahead, give yourself extra time, keep two hands on the wheel, buckle up and put cellphones away.
“With vehicles such as SUVs and pickups we see a kind of overconfidence,” Johnson pointed out. “They drive a little more like they're invincible and that is a mistake. Any type of vehicle can slide when the conditions are different.”
Hardware stores are prepared for the winter blast as well. At Smith Brother’s Hardware in Raytown, the store is stocked with shovels, rock salt, ice melt, and sand bags. Employees said there is a way to prevent ice from forming on your driveway, steps and sidewalk before rain falls.
“Liquid ice melt, which you would need to put down with a sprayer, but it doesn't wash away in the rain. And it actually, usually works at a colder temperature than rock salt and it doesn’t damage the driveway or grass,” Justin Powers explained.
He said the past two winters have been mild, but warned Kansas Citians shouldn’t take extreme weather changes lightly.