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Metro Newsroom

City Prepared for Second Blast of Winter Weather

Tuesday February 12, 2008

Black ice likely on roads tonight; police urge caution

Louisville’s Public Works crews are preparing for another round of precipitation after 6 p.m. – one that could result in icy roads for the evening.

“Our forecasters are split on whether we’ll see rain, sleet or snow, but it seems they all agree that the temperature will drop below freezing tonight,” said Ted Pullen, director of Louisville Metro Public Works. “Our overnight crews will be loaded in their salt trucks and ready to run routes again as soon as precipitation starts falling.”

Public Works crews cleared more than 2,500 miles and spread more than 718 tons of salt during yesterday’s snow. Temperatures were too low yesterday to use brine, and Pullen said brine would be ineffective today because slush remaining on the streets would

dilute it.

Even if the Louisville area remains dry, slush and standing water on roads may freeze again tonight, making driving hazardous. Approximately 200 MSD employees spent the day clearing catch basins and storm drains so water could drain from streets.

“While you’re out shoveling your walk or driveway, please do the neighborly thing and check your storm grate,” said Bud Schardein, director of MSD. “Either rake the slush and debris away or push the ice into the basin. The less water that remains on the road, the less ice may form when the temperature falls.”

Black ice a hazard

City managers are especially concerned about the formation of black ice on roads early this evening. Black ice is a thin glaze of ice that forms on streets and is nearly undetectable to drivers. The ice often forms after snow melts and re-freezes, or after a period of freezing rain.

“Black ice is just as treacherous as snow or sleet for drivers,” said Lt. Doug Sweeney of the LMPD Traffic Unit. “Drivers may think the pavement just appears wet and they’ll drive at regular speed, then lose control when their tires hit a patch of that thin ice.”

A four-wheel drive vehicle is no advantage when driving on ice. “You’re just as likely to spin out in your 4x4 truck as in a rear-wheel drive vehicle,” said Sweeney. “We’re urging drivers to slow down tonight and keep a considerable distance between your vehicle and other cars.”

Tips for Driving in Icy Conditions:

· Be aware of where ice may form: icy patches are likely on bridges, overpasses, ramps and curves.

· Give yourself plenty of space between your vehicle and other nearby vehicles.

· Allow extra time to stop.

· Observe other vehicles in front of you – if you notice cars swerving for no apparent reason, it’s likely due to black ice.

· Shift into a lower gear to give yourself more traction and control.

· Test for icy patches in a safe place like a parking lot. Wiggle the tires a bit and see if you notice a change in the feel of the pavement.

· When slowing down, use short, rapid application of the brakes.

· If you skid, stay calm and turn your wheel slowly in the same direction as the skid.

Reported LMPD Traffic Accidents

From Monday, Feb. 11 at 5 p.m. to today at 3 p.m.:

Hit and Runs: 26

Non injury: 178

Injury: 52

Stranded or Abandoned Vehicles: 258