With temperatures dipping into the mid-teens last night and the possibility of wintry precipitation tonight, Department of Transportation crews spent Thursday morning applying a chemical salt solution to roadways.
As of Thursday afternoon, 40 North Carolina counties were under a winter weather advisory. Scotland County was not included in the advisory at presstime.
Still Scotland County schools have announced that class will be dismissed early today in anticipation of the hazardous weather conditions.
Local emergency officials say that it looks like Scotland County will miss the brunt of the slowing storm, although snow is still a possibility into Friday evening.
After a 2 p.m. conference with weather service officials Mike Edge of Scotland County Emergency Services said that the worst of the storm is expected to remain north of Scotland County.
“The weather is constantly changing, and it could get worse quickly,” said Edge. “The DOT is applying that salt as a precaution, I think.”
Known as “salt brine,” NC DOT officials said Thursday that it is much cheaper and more effective to apply the brine than traditional rock salt to the roadways. According to official DOT estimates, it costs $6 to pre-treat a single lane mile of roadway with brine versus $14.38 to apply rock salt.
The brine solution is made by filling a hopper with salt and then adding water until the mixture is 23 percent salt. That combination is pumped into tanks and loaded on the trucks that spread the solution on roadways. The solution keeps the ice from bonding to the road surface.
The DOT owns brine production plants, the nearest of which is located in the maintenance yard of the field division office in Richmond County. The department is able to store 162,000 tons of salt statewide and uses between 50,000 and 60,000 tons during a typical winter.
The department of transportation advises drivers to make sure that windows and mirrors are clear and to reduce speed, leaving extra room between themselves and other vehicles.
If you begin to slide, take your foot off of the accelerator and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Do not apply the brakes.
Officials at the Scotland County Humane Society encourage locals not to leave their pets out in the cold when the weather gets bad this winter.
Humane Society Interim Director Karla Jo Milholland suggests bringing pets inside when possible.
“If your animal does have to be outside, make sure they have adequate shelter and bedding, and if it is below freezing, refresh their water.”
Milholland also advised giving pets extra food in the winter, as they burn more calories while trying to stay warm