UPDATE 11/26/2013 5:50 PM
The theory has been that the trucks hit the roads at the sign of a snowflake. Tuesday, what was falling weren't snowflakes, but raindrops. Still, that's when crews began treating the roadways.
"If they think the weather is going to be bad enough to warrant us being out, we'll be out treating, said Jim Lampert, a truck driver for the West Virginia Division of Highways. From what I've seen of the weather forecast, I look for us to be out all day today and (Wednesday) also."
Dpending on how much rain falls, salt usually spreads more evenly before the snow-and the temperatures-fall.
Ohio has, for several years, successfully used a brine mixture to pre-treat roadways. And it's one the state department of transportation mixes itself.
"It's much more cost-effective to make salt brine, and we essentially make it for pennies," says ODOT District 10 spokesman David Rose. "And we make sure that's all stocked up as well."
The two states may have different ways of de-icing roads and bridges, but they have a common concern: they ask motorists to keep clear of state and local crews who are trying to help them drive easier.
"A lot of times, they'll try to cut in front of the truck, or come up the side whenever we're plowing, and that makes a hazard for us," driver Lampert says.
And it may be the beginning of a long winter.
UPDATE 11/26/2013 12:30 PM
While it's not snowing hard yet, crews are already out on the roadways.
The West Virginia Division of Highways had its trucks out treating roadways before sleet turned to rain Tuesday morning.
And it plans to be out until the last of the snow falls sometime Wednesday.
"Normally when we're treating the roads, a lot of times, it's still snowing," says WVDOH truck driver Jim Lampert. "We normally have a crew any time there's snow on, so it's being treated while it's in the process of snowing."
Highway departments throughout the area have this advice for drivers: slow down and give the salt and snow removal vehicles plenty of room to work when the weather turns bad.
We're looking at potentially the first severe storm of the season and it comes at a bad time.
Many of us are hitting the roadways in the next couple of days but for anyone traveling this Thanksgiving holiday, local transportation officials want you to know that your safety is their top priority.
Officials say they're keeping a close eye on the weather and the West Virginia Division of Highways says they're well prepared.
They have 17 trucks serving Wood County and that doesn't even include the trucks used for our two busiest highways, I-77 and Route 50.
The department says they have roughly 1,000 tons of salt stocked.
That may sound like a lot, but that would go in about a week straight of bad conditions.
Officials say stocking salt is just one example of how they get ready for winter weather.
"We take preparations very seriously," says Rusty Roten, with the West Virginia Division of Highways. "Matter of fact, we prepare months in advance. We have all our equipment ready to go. We've checked it out. Back in October actually, we had dry-runs."
Crews went home Monday at 4 p.m., but a new crew comes in at midnight to patrol the roads and look for slick spots.
Officials say workers know that they are on-call in the event of severe weather.
The Ohio Department of Transportation says they're equally prepared for severe weather.
Officials say crews are out Monday night priming the roads in advance of any ice.
Those workers understand and accept that they could be on call should severe weather hit.
The department has 26 trucks serving Washington County and officials say they'll never be short on raw materials.
"During snow and ice season, this is what ODOT does best. It's what we prepare for," says Spokesman David Rose. "The men and women around the state, they love the work that they do. We have tens of thousands of tons of salt. So we will never run out of salt."
Rose says the trucks will also be out Tuesday morning, once again priming the roads with salt-brine, that keeps ice from forming on the pavement.
He adds that crews generally work 12-hour shifts, and that workers understand they could potentially be put on call 24-hours a day with severe conditions.