Freezing temperatures to make driving risky

Flash freeze to make roads treacherous

By Ron Nunnari [email protected]

LOCAL — With temperatures expected to plummet late Thursday into the early morning hours Friday, local road crews say roads conditions might be hazardous despite their best efforts.

A quick six hour temperature change with the temperature plummeting between 30 and 40 degrees coupled with wind chills of 20 below zero with wind gusts of 40 mph or more and an expected snow total between 2 to 4 inches possible is a recipe for disaster.

“Under those conditions there will be no time to treat roads with salt to get good results,” said Randy Sanders, public service director for the city of Clayton. “And as most of the seasoned drivers will tell you, if you do put salt down with that kind of cold temps and wind, you can create more problems than help.”

Many municipalities, including Clayton, use an 80 percent salt brine, 20 percent beet juice mixture that is sprayed onto the impeller / salt spreader to mix with salt as it comes out of the bed of snowplows.

This mixture is effective to about 24 below zero but there is no guarantee all roads will be completely safe.

Each route in Clayton consists of more than 35 lane miles and takes a salt truck driver two hours to travel one pass.

“By that time the temps will be unmanageable,” Sanders said. “Our outskirt roads west and north will have very reduced visibility at times in the open areas, and the more urban areas will have flash freezing problems.

“What people need to understand is salt does not work in colder temps and the wind blowing the snow back across those treated areas can create ice,” Sanders noted.

“We have some ‘grits’ available which does help with traction, but again I believe drivers just need to be very cautious if they must travel. Additionally, power outages and tree branches falling will be something to be aware of if those winds exceed 40 mph,” Sanders added.

The best advice is to stay home and off the roads. If your vehicle slides off the roadway or breaks down due to a mechanical issue, the results could be deadly. Survival in such cold temperatures is highly unlikely.

Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck will issue a snow emergency as necessary for Montgomery County. The local media will be notified of any activation or cancellation of a snow emergency.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking residents to not call the Regional Dispatch Center to check on current road conditions or the snow emergency. Instead, residents can call the Snow Emergency Line at 937-496-SNOW (7669).

This line will be updated when or if a snow emergency will be issued. Residents are encouraged to avoid any unnecessary trips during the storm to give road crews room to work.

If you must travel, provide yourself ample time to get to your destination.

For further information on what each snow emergency level means and for updates, residents can visit the Sheriff’s Office website at or by checking the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor).

Ron Nunnari can be reached at (937) 684-9124, or via email at [email protected]

By Ron Nunnari [email protected]