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Road ice season in full swing: how you can help
The road ice hazard season in the US is unfortunately already in full swing, with the northeastern US already hit hard with a widespread event this past week (with at least 15 lives lost). As with past years, I will be attempting to maintain the icyroadsafety.com web site as much as I am able. I upgraded the site's blog to use the same format I use here, and will also be utilizing the icyroadsafety.com Facebook page, Twitter feed and RSS/XML feed for updates that you can follow. The feeds will include news about notable incidents and events, links to caught-on-camera footage and updates to the blog. I will generally keep most road icing content on icyroadsafety.com, only posting here on stormhighway.com about the subject when something major warrants the attention.
Your help in spreading the word about the hazard would be helpful - there is only so much I can do by myself!
I put together a short list of ways that could help make a difference, whether you're a storm observer, NWS or DOT employee, TV meteorologist, or just a driver on the road. These are also posted on the icyroadsafety.com web site:
Together, we can keep this upcoming winter's icy roads from surpassing the 2011 tornado season in lives lost.
- Remember that it is the light icing and snow events that are most deadly. Big ice storms and snowstorms already benefit from high public awareness and tend to have very few incidents. It's the more subtle events that cause the most accidents, deaths and injuries.
- Media professionals, you can help raise awareness by emphasizing the icing hazard when it occurs in your broadcast area - and give it the same urgency you would a tornado warning.
- National Weather Service, consider dedicating resources and facilitating operational changes to warn the public about the high danger from light icing and snow events.
- Storm observers and spotters, consider covering light ice and snow events this winter to increase awareness of the hazard in your local area, and report dangerous icing conditions to the NWS just as you would a tornado or large hail.
- State highway departments, coordinate with the NWS during light ice and snow events and utilize resources to help warn drivers (electronic signs, email and text notifications, etc).
- and finally, and most importantly: Drivers - realize the level of danger from road icing, know the warning signs, and take action accordingly (by either postponing travel or simply slowing down). Read icyroadsafety.com for tips and information.
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