How abnormal weather conditions impact roads

unusual Winter Weather impacting roads

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(ABC 6 News) – Southeast Minnesota has seen some pretty unusual weather conditions, from our winter storm early this month to no more than eight inches of snowfall this season.

The abnormal weather conditions and temperatures seen over the past month have resulted in some unique road conditions.

“The ground’s frozen, so all that moisture gets in the air from melting snow,” said Eric Ahasic, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service Minnesota office. “At night it’s going to freeze on the roads; especially any untreated surfaces like sidewalks [and] driveways”.

Slick roads can be especially challenging for new or inexperienced drivers, including those who may not be familiar with Minnesota roads.

“If it’s a really big ice storm, and you see that glaze of ice over everything; everyone knows to drive slow,” said Ahasic. “What we’re seeing in these mornings, it’s a little damp, it’s not that cold out but it’s that little layer of ice.”

Slowing down and taking extra precautions can often mean the difference between life and death.

“I do that with my students, we’ll go to a parking lot and all of our cars are front-wheel drive, so we’ll put it in reverse and do a backwards donut; straighten it out [and] stop it,” said local driving instructor Todd Ingalls. “We’ll go about 20-miles-per-hour and turn quick on the snow, so they can feel what it’s like to slide.”

Early Wednesday, many southeast Minnesota residents witnessed thick fog, ultimately bringing visibility down.

“Pretty low visibility, as low as a quarter to half mile, especially during the overnight hours,” said Ahasic. “We got to start melting all that snow, or it’s going to pump all that moisture in the air; the more snow you have on the ground, the thicker that fog is probably going to be.”

The best piece of advice for any drivers new to the area is to slow down.

“Remember that all wheel drive, isn’t all wheel brake,” said Ingalls.