East Alabama is bracing for freezing temperatures and possible freezing rain tonight.
The following counties are under a freezing rain advisory, the lowest level of warning issued by the National Weather Service:
Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Cullman, Etowah, Marshall, Randolph, St. Clair, and Talladega.
The freezing rain is expected to be heavily concentrated in east and northeast Alabama, in areas mostly north of Gadsden.
FOX6 Meteorologist J-P Dice says he does not expect widespread icing, but icing on bridges, overpasses and elevated areas is likely. The freezing rain is expected begin around 3 a.m, with the peak time between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. After 8 a.m., the temperatures should warm up and begin to thaw out with highs in the low 40's, Dice said.
Calhoun County's Highway Department has slag trucks on standby to help with icy roads. They demonstrated one of their spreaders for us this afternoon. EMA officials in Calhoun and Etowah counties are expecting possible icy road conditions on bridges and overpasses as well.
Rick Henry with the Cullman Street Department says that the city has their own trucks pre-treating bridges and some roadways Thursday night. They will also be on stand by overnight and Friday morning if conditions worsen. ALDOT has their own trucks on stand by to keep the interstates safe for drivers as well.
Henry says that if you don't have to drive, stay home.
"We would tell people: stay home. It's very dangerous out there, particulary ice. It doesn't take much to get your car spinning out of control," he said.
State troopers echoed that sentiment and have shared several tips for safe winter weather driving:
• Avoid travel, if possible, when icy or other extremely hazardous driving conditions develop.
• Keep vehicles in good operating condition. Check antifreeze levels and use windshield washer
solution suitable for freezing weather conditions. Keep gas tanks at least half full.
• Remember weather and roadway conditions can quickly change. Adapt speeds to existing roadway conditions, and be alert to changing weather and the possibility of icy, slippery roads.
• During inclement weather, turn on headlights and windshield wipers and maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and other vehicles.
• Pay particular attention to bridges and overpasses, which have a tendency to develop extremely hazardous "black ice".
• Keep blankets, a first aid kit, a charged cell phone and other emergency supplies in your vehicle.
Click here to check on road conditions as reported by ALDOT.
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