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The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook due to the increasing potential for a winter storm Thursday night into Saturday. In response, City of Danville crews began pretreating main thoroughfares on Tuesday.
The decision to begin pretreating streets early was made because low temperatures will limit the window of opportunity for applying brine between now and Friday.
“We may only have a short window on Thursday to apply brine due to low temperatures,” said Rick Drazenovich, director of Public Works. “It takes us about 10 hours to pretreat our main thoroughfares. So, we decided to wait until temperatures reached 25 degrees today, and then apply as much as we can.
“On Thursday, we expect to have another short window of opportunity, so we will apply brine to the rest of the main thoroughfares at that time.”
Brine is a mixture of water and salt. When applied to the road surface, 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.
At low temperatures, however, brine can freeze to the road surface rather than evaporate.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service’s forecast called for snow likely Thursday night, with a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain throughout the day on Friday and continuing Friday night. On Saturday, there is a chance of more snow.
Drazenovich said by pretreating some of our main thoroughfares today, it also allowed the city to test a new brine maker. This new equipment mixes brine faster and controls more precisely the salt concentration used.
Public Works crews also were busy on Tuesday checking equipment in preparation for a round-the-clock snow removal operation.
City power and light crews also spent Tuesday making snowstorm preparations for round-the-clock response to outages. The city is arranging for assistance by contract crews as needed.