Thursday, July 24 2014 2:32 AM EDT2014-07-24 06:32:24 GMT
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -
While North Alabamians keep an eye on an approaching winter storm, Huntsville public works crews are already making plans to keep the roadways safe for travelers.
Crews begin making plans for winter storms in the fall. As for the approaching system, crews met Sunday to talk about general areas of concern.
Director of Public Works Terry Hatfield said they start making sure they have things like gravel and salt in stock in the fall. He said he has already spoken with Mayor Tommy Battle about the pending weather. His workers are prepared to stay all night Monday so they can keep the roads safe bright and early Tuesday.
Their focus will be on major roadways and areas of high elevation. Hatfield said his crew has the experience necessary to handle this type of winter event. "Most of them have been here long enough; they've gone through this. They know where to go; they know the bad spots so they can hit those," he said.
Hatfield said they will have another meeting Monday morning over specific areas of coverage.
The potential for snow and ice brings the likelihood for slick roads. Those can often lead to accidents which result in raised insurance rates. Alabama's "Act of God" rule prohibits insurance companies from canceling or not renewing a policy due to a weather-related accident. Insurance companies are also kept from raising the policy holder's premiums at the next renewal due to a weather-related cause.
Troopers are urging drivers to be safe so accidents don't happen.
"We'll have additional guys out there working additional shifts," said Trooper Curtis Summerville. "Everybody will be out as needed depending on the weather."
Summerville said they are using what happened in Birmingham last month as a learning tool.
"If you're in a situation where the traffic isn't moving and you're iced in and it's not going anywhere, if you're going to abandon your vehicle make sure you take your personal items of value out of the car," he said.
Madison County EMA officials also met Sunday for a weather briefing. They said their biggest concern is also the roadways. They said things could get hairy during Monday evening's commute. They plan to have extra staff on hand as we get closer to the storm, but they said it is important the public begins preparing now.
EMA officials urge people to stay off the roads Monday night. They will have another briefing Monday morning to discuss any changes.
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