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Treating Snowy Roads

A light snow turns some communities white in the northern counties. Most of the roads stayed snow-free as road crews in Madison and Yancey began salting and sanding slick spots Tuesday night.

Buncombe County geared up to handle icy spots on bridges and overpasses Wednesday morning. Thick flurries began to swirl as they prepared to put salt and sand on roads at the higher elevations.

Parts of Yancey County had snow showers all day, leading to this accident on Jack's Creek Road. No one was injured, but homeowners nearby say the road was slushy when the car slid off the road and into the creek.

Highway engineers say roads that are snow-covered and wet could become more dangerous Wednesday night with temperatures falling into the teens.  Salt becomes less effective below 20 degrees. With colder temperatures ahead, road crews will be using another weapon to battle dangerous ice and hard-packed snow.

"When it gets that cold, it's very hard for the salt to work, but we do have pre-wetting systems on our spreaders, this sprays magnesium chloride on the salt and sand solution, which pre-wets the salt, which activates it, and the magnesium chloride helps to melt it also below those temperatures, and it's supposed to work at minus-30 degrees," said NCDOT District Engineer Chris Deaton.

Engineers warn about how mountain roads can become dangerous in snow events like this one. Any roadway that looks wet may be coated with ice instead and wet roads can turn to ice unexpectedly.



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