Mid-South road crews preparing for potentially slick conditions Tuesday morning

Crews on standby for chance of winter weather

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Rain continues to make its way through the Mid-South with the potential for record-breaking temps following closely behind.

A spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Transportation said when rain comes before that wintry mixture, crews can’t pre-treat roads or the rain washes it off.

"We just get prepared and stage a lot of our trucks around the river bridges and the flyovers and different overpasses along 385 to make sure once that temperature does drop we’re ready then to apply any kind of salt or salt brine,” said Nichole Lawrence with TDOT Community Relations.

TDOT covers a 21-county area from the Tennessee River to the Mississippi River, including Shelby County.

"With this event coming in at night, we just need to make sure that the motorists are aware and they need to watch for our workers and watch for our trucks out on the highway. Give them plenty of room to work,” said Lawrence.

Over at Memphis International Airport, officials say it’s best for travelers to be prepared in case the weather causes delays or cancellations.

"We do not expect any operational troubles here at Memphis International Airport, but there is a lot of winter weather going on this week in other parts of the nation so check with your airline before traveling. They’ll have all the updated details about scheduling,” said Public Information Officer Glen Thomas.

The City of Memphis also has crews prepared for a possible wintry mix. A spokesperson sent us a statement reading in part, “The city’s primary focus during inclement weather periods is to first treat major streets with inclines/declines, as well as any bridges and overpasses. Secondly, crews will treat the remaining major streets on an as-needed basis.”

If you are out driving, experts say be mindful and pay close attention.

Mid-South prepares for first dose of winter weather

"Number 1, slow down. Number 2, increase your distance. Number 3, pay attention,” said Max Maxwell, owner of Maxwell Driving School.

Maxwell says these points could help you if you’re out driving in poor weather conditions.

"They drive the same route everyday at least five days a week and then when bad weather comes they don’t really anticipate hills. They don’t anticipate corners coming up,” said Maxwell.

To keep yourself better informed, officials say use TDOT’s SmartWay Map. It helps keep track of road conditions and possible incidents.

WMC Action News 5 also reached out to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. A spokesperson sent us a statement warning drivers about road conditions. The statement reads in part, “Black ice looks very similar to a wet road. But it is actually a thin sheet of ice. These types of conditions could be treacherous. So we are advising drivers to drive slow make sure they buckle up and allow for extra drive times.”

Maxwell suggests if you hit black ice or if anything goes wrong while you’re driving, just stay calm.

"Take your feet off the controls because going for the brake, which is kind of human nature is going to cause problems. It's going to transfer weight to the front quickly and then you're probably going to lose control at that point,” said Maxwell.

If you need highway assistance, dial *THP for the patrol dispatch center. A trooper will then be dispatched to you.

WMC also reached out to MDOT. A spokesperson told us in an email crews are currently monitoring the conditions and the roads, but the de-icing trucks are ready whenever the weather moves in.

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