Salting before the storm: How you can prep - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Salting before the storm: How you can prep

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With the potential for ice to form overnight, interstate crews are ready to roll.

"Whatever mother nature has in store, we'll be ready," said Brent Walker, a spokesperson for the West Virginia Department of Transportation. "We'll keep our finger on the pulse. We hear the weather reports and we begin to mobilize."

He said the crews will be ready to roll overnight and Friday morning. And for good reason.

"Just the teeniest little bit of ice could mean a slick drive especially before the sun comes up," said Stormtracker13 meteorologist Spencer Adkins. "So this affects the early commuters."

But here's why treating ice gets so tricky.

"As the temperature lowers, the effectiveness of the salt decreases," Walker said.

Salt and brine work great above twenty degrees but below that, it's harder for the combination to react and melt the ice, according to Walker. In those temperatures, crews continue to salt throughout the day.

"Snow we can clear away. Ice is tough. We just need enough salt to melt the ice," Walker said.

He added that salt is tricky because when it hits pavement at 35 mph, it scatters. Factor in wind, and things get messy. Walker said crews avoid this by pouring more salt onto an area.

He said road crews have enough salt to last a storm, but do you?

"If you were in the salt business last year, you'd know it wasn't very good. So most places that carry it have it from years gone by," said Bill Pile, of FM Pile Hardware in Charleston.

Depending on size, bags of salt cost between $5 and $20. Pile said to use an entire bag the night before bad weather hits to ensure ice and snow melts the next morning.

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