Starting late this afternoon and for the next three days, the Wright County Highway Department will be spreading de-icing salt brine on county roads and highways because of the anticipation of frost problems in the coming days. The plan is start laying down the de-icing materials around the evening commute today and will continue most of the day Wednesday and, if needed, into Thursday and Friday.
Wright County Highway Maintenance Supervisor Steve Meyer said that frost is as big a problem on frozen road surfaces as snow or sleet because when the temperature and the dewpoint are nearly identical, frost can collect on those surfaces and make them hazardous, especially roads that run alongside rivers and where open roads have turns in them.
“Frost is a problem on the roads, especially when there isn’t any wind,” Meyer said. “It can create very dangerous conditions. We’ve had a lot of frost over the last few days, but it hasn’t impacted the roads because we’ve had enough wind to keep the roads dry because the frost isn’t likely to collect on the frozen surface when wind is pushing the particles around. The forecast calls for high humidity and almost no wind. If the dewpoint gets close to the air temperature and you have high humidity and no wind, that’s when you get frost and it can be very dangerous on the roads.”
There is expected to be high humidity for low temperatures (approaching 90 percent humidity the next three days) as well as little to no wind all three days.
“We going to try to be aggressive with this and take care of the spots that we know tend to get frost buildup in these conditions,” Meyer said. “When people run into frosty conditions and they feel a slip of the tires losing their grip, the first instinct is often to tap the brakes. That’s the worst thing you can do, because too often you go for a ride and can end up in the ditch.”
Meyer said the Highway Department will remain proactive and will be laying down de-icing salt brine as necessary to try to prevent the expected frost from being an issue.