JOPLIN, MO.--- Winter weather means potentially dangerous roadways. To ensure your safety, street departments in the area are preparing for the impending sleet and snow. Crews are actively monitoring the temperatures throughout the night, paying close attention to pavement temperatures. Once they hit the freezing point and precipitation starts falling, crews will be out on the streets in full force.
"We always try to stay ahead of the game as best we can," said Nick Heatherly, Joplin Public Works.
Crews spent all day prepping snow equipment for the predicted cold blast set to hit the region.
"Our supervisor will come in about midnight tonight and will be continuing to monitoring the weather as it comes through with our main crew starting in the 6 and 7 range as it currently is anticipated," said Heatherly.
Forecasters are predicting the storm could leave us with up to three inches of snow by Friday.
"We've got 13 snow plows and distributors that are ready. We also have some back hoes and graters that will be used in special areas that we can't get the big trucks into," said Heatherly.
Joplin has 2,000 tons of salt mixture ready to spread on snow or ice covered roads.
"Make sure we get our routes to the hospitals and medical facilities open first, then we'll work out from there," said Heatherly.
On the other side of town, MODOT is also working in anticipation of a big freeze.
"We have 29,000 tons of salt that's available to be used during a snow storm," said David Mitchell, MODOT Representative.
In the 21 districts of Southwest Missouri, MODOT will have 289 trucks and more than 600 workers making streets safe.
"Our first priority will be he most heavily traveled routes; I-44, I-49, Range Line," said Mitchell.
Crews remind you to stay back from snow plows while on the road. They also offer other safety tips for driving in wintery conditions, like paying attention to weather maps before venturing out.
"What roads are clear, what might be ice or snow covered so that they can plan their trip accordingly and if they have to go out make sure that they slow down, drive appropriately for the conditions," said Heatherly.
Another important tip--- make sure you have emergency items in your vehicle just in case you get stranded. For example, a working flashlight, first aid kit, a brightly colored cloth to use as a flag and sleeping bags or blankets.
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