Benton County Emergency Crews Prepare for Winter Weather

It’s going to be a white Christmas for most of our viewing area, according to the weather forecast. While it may be pretty and festive, it could also be problematic for drivers.

Robert McGowen, Benton County Emergency Management director, said the county is prepared for severe winter weather.

Several snow plows are on hand at three locations across Benton County, along with mounds of salt and sand.

“Every time you have an incident, you learn from it and we stay prepared with the road department, working with the road department out there, have the trucks ready to go, the road graders ready to clear the roads and salt and sand the roads whenever the incident starts so it’s a continual process of being prepared,” said McGowen.

Benton County has chosen not to pre-treat the roads because the rain expected early Tuesday could wash it away; but, the Emergency Management Agency is fully staffed and ready to respond.

“The County at this time is not doing any pre-treating. We are just waiting on the weather event to start and at that point they will start treating the roads,” McGowen said.

McGowen urges drivers to avoid untreated roads.

“Give yourself extra time, don’t be in a hurry but also before you leave, check the road conditions, monitor the weather, see what area it’s going to effect,” he said.

Each county and city are in charge of handling the treatment of their own roads once the storm hits.

Even though the cities and counties work separately treating roads, they work together communicating problem spots and helping with emergencies.

“We will give any assistance that is requested and assist the police, fire and road departments with any resources that we can get for them that they will need to respond to any type of incident we face,” McGowen said.

The Northwest Arkansas Red Cross has teamed up with the Benton County Emergency Management Agency to help provide assistance, shelter and essentials to anyone affected by this winter storm.

To get live updates on the winter storm from our meteorologists, click the link: http://5newsonline.com/2012/12/23/live-blog-winter-storm-updates/

Below is a list of phone numbers and web sites to check for road conditions in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and surrounding states.

Arkansas (http://www.arkansashighways.com/Roads/roads.aspx):
(501) 569-2374
(800) 245-1672

Oklahoma (http://www.dps.state.ok.us/cgi-bin/weathermap.cgi):
(405) 425-2385
(888) 425-2385

Kansas (http://www.ksdot.org/offTransInfo/511Info/511traffictravel.asp):
(866) 511-5368

Missouri (http://maps.modot.mo.gov/timi/):
(800) 222-6400

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