Road and rescue crews across Alabama are staying weather alert to avoid a repeat of what happened two weeks ago when a winter storm took the state by surprise.
The snow and ice left thousands of people stranded on roadways, stuck at work and separated from their families.
To prepare for this week's winter weather threat, ALDOT has been treating roads in Jefferson County with salt brine since 8:30 a.m. Monday. They will continue to use the brine treatment until temperatures drop below 30 degrees, then will switch to salt, ALDOT spokesman Brian Davis said.
ALDOT officials are encouraging drivers to use the outside truck lane when driving because that will be the lane guaranteed to be treated. It will also have the most traffic and will be the best option for travel, Davis said.
ALDOT crews are pre-treating roads and bridges across the state in anticipation of the wintry weather, Gov. Robert Bentley tweeted Monday afternoon.
Alabama Power have put their crews on standby in case of outages. They have also asked crews in the southern part of the state to be ready for support. They ask that customers call 1-800-888-2726 if they have a power outage.
Hoover police and fire departments are also watching the system very closely. During the late January storm, Hoover police helped rescue at least 100 people stranded on the interstates overnight. This time, they have had more time to prepare for the potential winter weather.
Hoover firefighters say they do not want the interstates to turn into parking lots again. If it does happen, they encourage drivers to try to get out of the way of emergency vehicles.
"If they can move to the right is what the law says and that's what we expect people to do. But in those weather conditions, sometimes you can't move to the right. Just do your best to get out of the way," Rusty Lowe with the Hoover Fire Department said.
Lowe also says to slow down when you see emergency personnel pulled over on the side of the road and recommends staying off the roads if at all possible.
A liquid de-icing truck coated I-65 north between Birmingham and Cullman on Monday morning. Cullman streets were already pre-treated for ice and snow over the weekend.
Cullman's EMA is monitoring the weather every hour. EMA director Phyllis Little is encouraging drivers to delay their commute on Tuesday.
"We're encouraging people once they get home tonight to just stay at home and don't travel unless its necessary travel. Enjoy the nice winter night tonight, delay travel as much as possible in the morning to give roads to at least thaw some and clear," Little said.
Northport Fire Rescue is also preparing for wintry weather conditions.
"All of our apparatus are equipped with chains, most of which are automatic and can be deployed within seconds with the push of a button," Captain Jason Norris said.
Norris says they've also placed an ATV in service and are equipping all units with saws and bags of oil dry for traction.
Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue is storing supplies at Fire Station 1 in case a rapid response is neede somewhere. The trucks are being equipped with water, tow line, MREs, chain saws and other supplies for stranded drivers.
Tuscaloosa's storm support trucks will go into use at midnight, Tuscaloosa Fire Marshal Gene Holcomb said.
The city of Tuscaloosa placed two sand trucks in position for overnight winter weather.
One of the trucks is at the Tuscaloosa Department of Transportation and the other is near Lake Tuscaloosa's Spillway. Instead of sand, they're loaded with a mix of gravel and de-icing material. They will also use infrared thermometers to measure when the road temperatures drop to 32 degrees or lower to determine when it's best to apply the material.
Robin Edgeworth with Tuscaloosa Incident Command says they're prepared in case the weather event lasts for several days.
"We believe that this event is not going to be a one day event. We think we'll probably see this through Wednesday. We'll have off and on changes in weather. We're preparing for this and trying to make certain that our personnel are prepared to respond throughout that
three or four day period," Edgeworth said.
There is a winter storm warning in effect for several counties in north-central Alabama from 9 p.m. Monday until midnight on Wednesday. Stay with FOX6 News for updates on the winter storm.
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