Danville Public Works crews continue to spread brine on the major thoroughfares as a fast-moving storm system brings light snow and sleet to the city.
At 11:45 a.m. Friday, the National Weather Service office in Blacksburg said the Danville area still should expect 1 to 2 inches of snow, despite the precipitation arriving earlier than expected. A light snowfall began falling in Danville around 9:30 a.m. Meteorologists had predicted the snow to begin anywhere from noon to 3 p.m.
A heavy burst of snow is expected in the late afternoon. Public Works Director Rick Drazenovich said crews will finish spreading brine before that burst arrives. Brine is a mixture of water and salt. The water in the brine evaporates, leaving the salt behind on the road. The salt breaks the bond between the snow and the roadway, and it therefore helps prevent the snow from freezing onto roads and bridges.
“The roads where we already have brine down are clear,” Drazenovich said. “We are seeing snow beginning to cover the secondary roads. We will put down sand on hillsides and other areas as needed.”
A winter weather advisory is in effect, meaning that the snow will cause travel difficulties.
The winter storm may turn over to sleet and freezing rain after 5 p.m., which will create more hazardous travel conditions. The precipitation is expected to end before 9 p.m.
Drazenovich said the below freezing temperatures will make it more difficult for plows to clear the roadways not treated with brine and salt clear because the snow and sleet will freeze to the surface.
Residents and visitors are reminded that snow and ice removal is accomplished on a priority basis. The top priority is main thoroughfares and collector streets leading to various emergency facilities. Second priorities are routes that connect to primary routes and bus routes. Only after primary and secondary routes are cleared is work begun on residential streets.
“If we get enough snow to push, then we will push throughout the night,” Drazenovich said. Crews could reach residential streets Saturday morning.
In preparing for winter weather, residents should consider the following tips:
• If snow or ice is in the forecast, always attempt to have a full tank of gasoline. In addition to the added weight to your vehicle, the extra fuel might come in handy if you become delayed in traffic or if you become stranded.
• Allow yourself extra time when preparing to leave for work or other destinations.
• Always clean off your vehicle before operation. Lack of visibility from poorly cleaned windows is dangerous when coupled with inclement weather. Always allow your car to warm up and keep in mind additional snow or ice on the roof, hood, or trunk of your vehicle, as it could become loose in transit. The sudden blinding by an airborne sheet of snow or ice can cause visibility issues for you or another motorist.
• Always wear your safety belt. The use of safety belts is proven to save lives.
• Start out slowly in the lowest gear recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer.
• Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges.
• Icy or wet roads can decrease your needed stopping times when braking. A four- to six-second following time rule is generally accepted; however, on wet or icy roads, increasing this distance to a minimum of an eight-second following time would be well worth the effort.