Crews prepare for blast of winter weather - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/27/10

Crews prepare for blast of winter weather

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By Ann Wyatt Little - bio | email

Lubbock, TX (KCBD) – Utility crews and road crews will keep a close eye on the winter weather storm as it rolls across the South Plains.

City and state crews expect the majority of the problems to hit the panhandle, but spent Wednesday preparing for the worst.

"Our two worst enemies are ice and wind," says Steve Deaton, regional community manager for Xcel Energy who adds that when the two mix it wreaks havoc for both utility companies and customers. The company has 60 employees on stand-by ready to restore power if the storm knocks it out.

"I think they are predicting 25-35 mile per hour winds during the course of Thursday so we just hope ice doesn't build up too much. It's a double whammy if it does," adds Deaton about the companies preparations.

Road crews attached plows and spreaders to street vehicles and re-stocked supplies of salt and magnesium chloride in preparations to make Lubbock streets safer if conditions take a turn for the worse.

"We can't predict. We can just go with what the National Weather Service thinks will happen and we are ready and prepared," says Dianah Ascensio with TxDot.  

"We expect the majority of the bad weather to track north and not through the south. We don't expect too much below hale county line but we're ready just in case," says Deaton.  

At some point Thursday the falling rain will turn into sleet which is a problem City Street Superintendent Kevin Lair says may water down their efforts.

"We'd like to pre-treat some of the bridges and over passes but with this storm we have the possibility of rain coming so we can't pre-treat because it will just wash away. We will have to watch that and see when the transition takes place," says Lair.

If conditions warrant the trucks will hit the streets and when they do drivers ask that you keep a safe distance between away from the plow so they can do their jobs safely.

TxDot also asks drivers to use caution and to give plenty of time especially if visibility is low and roads ice over.

"Our plows don't have the capability to remove ice from the roadways so we really rely on mother nature to be kind to us. Ice is a different animal. We need warm temperatures and sunshine," says Ascencio.

All the crews NewsChannel 11 spoke with are essentially on standby and say they will just monitor conditions and spring into action when it's time. City and state crews will shift to a 24-hour schedule to fix road conditions.

Stay with NewsChannel 11 for the latest on delays or closings.

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