A few days ago I received news from Caltrans that they are preparing for one of the strongest storms Californians have seen in years.Even though this is a “late” post I thought the information might still be helpful to all of you as we are most likely to have many other storms before spring sprouts so the information should be interesting. It is also information that, while no one expects to be caught in an emergency situation in heavy rain, it does happen and the information in this post, from Caltrans, could be lifesaving.
The press release states that more than 1,500 pieces of storm-related equipment and over 3,000 maintenance employees are ready for this week’s major weather ship that is on track to impact several regions throughout the state.
“Caltrans first priority is the safety of the motoring public and we will be working around the clock to keep roads open and clear,” said Caltrans Director Malcom Dougherty. Crews have been busy checking pumping stations, readying equipment and clearing roadside drainage ditches across the state. Generators have been checked and have plenty of fuel for operation throughout the anticipated storms, and crews have been busy filling sand bags. Poles measuring snow height are in and are being inspected and marked. Chain control facilities are operational and crews will be moved to where they are needed as conditions warrant. Sand sheds are fully stocked for the season, avalanche control measures are checked and operable and response crews are ready.
Traffic Management Centers throughout the state will be monitoring highway and weather conditions and they are ready to dispatch crews and equipment to trouble spots and to respond to traffic incidents. Caltrans will activate its Changeable message Signs and Highway Advisory radios to communicate to the public about highway conditions.
According to the National Weather Service, the storm is on track to be one of the strongest storms Californians have seen in years and motorists should be prepared for high winds, heavy rain, floods and snow and ice in higher elevations.
Severe weather can be alarming and hazardous for drivers. The best defense is not to venture out on the roads during stormy weather but if you must drive, use caution. common sense and always be prepared, especially when traveling in high elevation areas.
Winter weather and road conditions can change rapidly and drivers should have their vehicle winterized by checking its brakes, coolant, tires, windshield wipers, defroster, heater and exhaust systems. If possible, have your vehicle checked by a professional mechanic.
During winter storm conditions, motorists should anticipate unexpected delays and closures. Caltrans strives to reduce the frequency and the length of unplanned closures on state highway but during major storms when traffic flow is heavy, Caltrans may meter traffic to ease congestion.
Caltrans sends along these tips for winter driving: allow time for your trip; be observant of everything going on around you; remember…black ice is nearly invisible,
Keep your fuel tank full and your windows clear; drive as conditions permit and use slower acceleration, slower speeds and slower braking in winter conditions; Reduce speed and leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you. Use headlights in rainy and snowy weather. During fog, drive with headlights on low beam; Never drive with just parking or fog lights; Remember that you must have your lights on when using your wipers. If you get stuck, stay with your vehicle and wait for help!