National Weather Service issues winter storm watch for Highland Lakes

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MARBLE FALLS — The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for the Highland Lakes and much of the Hill Country from 6 p.m. Dec. 31 through noon Jan. 1.

According to the NWS, there is a slight chance of freezing rain before 11 a.m. Dec. 31, but those chances increase as night and New Year’s Day roll around.

There will be “freezing rain, likely, possibly mixed with sleet before 11 a.m. (Jan. 1), possibly mixed with sleet before 11 a.m. and noon, then rain likely after noon,” according to the NWS.

The service predicts a high temperature of 36 degrees on New Year’s Day, warming a bit Jan. 2 with a high of 44.

With the threat of possible icy conditions, local officials are standing by with sand and other materials to put on roadways for traction.

Burnet County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery said the county doesn’t have the chemicals found in northern areas that deal with these types of situations on a more regular basis, but crews are loading dump trucks with sand to spread over potentially icy spots.

County and local crews will remain on call during worst conditions of the storm and will respond to overpasses and other trouble spots.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, its crews will have some types of de-icers and anti-icing agents available.

While city, county and state officials try to keep the roads safe, drivers should also take precautions if they do find themselves traveling in dangerous conditions.

Some winter driving tips from TxDOT include:

  • Reduce speed. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions.
  • Maintain at least three times the normal distance between vehicles on snow or ice.
  • Watch carefully for snow removal and stay at least 200 feet back if you are behind a snow plow.
  • Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas as they tend to freeze first.
  • If you start to slide, ease off the gas pedal and brakes. Steer into the direction of the skid until you feel you have regained traction, and then straighten your vehicle.

Go to www.txdot.gov for additional tips. TxDOT also updates road conditions on its website.

editor@thepicayune.com

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