JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Northeast Tennessee is preparing for a third winter storm of 2022 this weekend, as rain, sleet and snow are all possible for the Tri-Cities region in the coming days.
“We’re continuing to monitor weather forecasts – there’s some differences in our forecast when it comes to our East Tennessee region,” Tennessee Department of Transportation Community Relations Officer Mark Nagi said. “Remember, we’re responsible for 24 counties that stretch all the way from Scott, Morgan, Roane county – all the way into upper East Tennessee.”
Nagi said that, as of late Friday, roads in areas expecting mostly snow this coming weekend, as opposed to a mix of snow and rain, were pre-treated with brine.
Although winter weather has been plentiful since the start of the new year, Nagi is confident in the supply of materials needed to keep the roads as safe as possible.
“We get shipments of salt all to our garages – all of our salt bins across the state,” he said. “We get those shipments throughout the year. It could be the middle of July and 95 degrees outside and we’re getting shipments of salt to make sure we’re ready when the winter weather arrives.”
However, despite the best efforts of TDOT to keep the roads clear, Nagi admitted that the cold weather could still pose a danger to drivers.
“When temperatures get below freezing, especially when they’re below 25 or 20 degrees – that limits the effectiveness of our supplies,” he said. “So, that’s why you may see more slick spots on our interstates and state routes. Especially on those bridges, those overpasses, those on and off ramps.”
“So because of that, when those temperatures really drop – we really stress to folks that if they do not have to be on the roadways – they need to stay at home,” he urged.
Keeping drivers off the roads as much as possible will also help clear the way for the road crews to perform their jobs. Nagi said crews will likely hit their routes starting late Saturday afternoon into early Saturday evening.
“So far with this winter weather pattern – it looks like it could be region-wide,” he said. “So, because of that, it will be all-hands-on-deck. We’ll make sure we have our trucks and our manpower all across the region on our interstates and state routes and they’ll stay on the job as long as they have to.”