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Hazardous road conditions throughout much of Alabama

Forecasts indicate that hazardous conditions will continue to be a major travel concern through late morning Wednesday.

Oxmoor Road in Homewood. (PAUL DEMARCO/TWITTER)

The Alabama Department of Transportation and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency are continuing to advise motorists to stay off the roadways when possible while much of the state is experiencing icy road conditions. Much of the state experienced heavy precipitation on Monday and that has been followed by frigid temperatures. The current forecast predicts freezing temperatures as far south as Mobile, which is even experiencing snow flurries.

Temperatures were at 16 degrees Tuesday morning in Birmingham, 14 degrees and dropping in Huntsville, 15 degrees in Tuscaloosa, 21 degrees in Montgomery, 22 degrees in Dothan and 21 degrees in Mobile. Northwest Alabama was hit hardest by the winter precipitation and on Tuesday morning was experiencing the most frigid temperatures. The light snow that fell overnight adds to the dangerous travel conditions as the snow dusting covers up the ice underneath.

Bring your pets inside, if you have not already. Forecasts indicate that hazardous conditions will continue to be a major travel concern through late morning Wednesday, Feb. 17, due to temperatures remaining near or below freezing even during daytime hours Tuesday. Rainfall in areas of the state that had temperatures above freezing during the day Monday have seen that moisture freeze overnight with the polar temperatures.

Anywhere that temperatures are below freezing, moisture on pavement surfaces may freeze to form black ice — a transparent layer of ice on the roadway that is difficult for motorists to detect in advance. Travel on all routes in the affected areas will continue to be potentially hazardous, and some routes may become impassable. Motorists are strongly advised not to travel except in case of emergency.

Although ALDOT does its best to pre-treat areas where ice is possible, and to respond with additional treatment throughout a winter weather event, motorists should consider all roads and bridges hazardous during freezing conditions and wintry precipitation. The best safety measure is to remain at home until conditions improve.

Stay weather-aware by monitoring the news and the National Weather Service in your area for the latest weather information. Check road conditions through local news media and ALGOtraffic.com. [Here are some tips on driving in winter weather conditions.]

The safest thing to do would be not to go out. Most schools throughout the state are closed or are conducting online classes only. Most government offices and many businesses will also be closed. Please check with your employer before venturing out. If you do have a need to go out, slow down well below the posted speed limit and allow yourself plenty of time to get there as there could be utility crews working to restore power, stranded motorists, downed trees and powerlines, and first responders out on the roads responding to the crisis.

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Braking will be much more difficult in these icy conditions. Take a fully charges cell phone with you and dress properly in winter gear, with shoes that you can walk in, and long trousers in case you’re involved in a traffic mishap and you have to walk in these conditions.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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