Winter driving in Texas?
December 16, 2003 10:36 AM   Subscribe

I go to school in western North Carolina, and tomorrow I plan on driving home to Texas. Still, I have a problem. [more inside]

So here's the local weather forecast for tomorrow morning. ideally, I would like to depart around 8 in the morning. However, it seems the weather calls for rain and/or snow. How will the condition of the roads be? Icy? Obviously I'm not from this area. Thanks.
posted by Scottk to Travel & Transportation around Texas (13 answers total)
 
I think a lot would depend on how high the elevation is where you are, and whether or not you will be crossing bridges (that do indeed ice over first. I have seen the wrecks to prove it.) I don't really think you will have snow judging from the predicted temps.

Which route are you taking? Maybe someone a little west of here can give you a better idea what to expect (I am near the Sandhills myself.)
posted by konolia at 11:02 AM on December 16, 2003


I'm seeing a forecast of 38 degrees and rain for 9am tomorrow. I'm not sure exactly what you're asking -- I mean, if it rains, the road is obviously likely to be wet. Shouldn't be too much of a problem as long as you have your headlights on and are cautious.
posted by Vidiot at 11:02 AM on December 16, 2003


Notice ice/snow the earlier in the morning the better the traction w/o chains; as the sun rises the ice/snow melts making then re-freezes making one "slippery surface".

I'm seeing a forecast of 38 degrees and rain for 9am tomorrow.

How long has the ground been cold below 32F as the snow will melt w/o the ground not being cold for some time.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:07 AM on December 16, 2003


Problem is I'm in the mountains of western NC - elevation of 4000 ft or so. I'm just wondering if the roads will actually freeze. I know the longer I drive, the better off I am as I'm heading nearly due south.
posted by Scottk at 11:09 AM on December 16, 2003


...melts then re-freezing the top layer making a very "slippery...
posted by thomcatspike at 11:10 AM on December 16, 2003


It shouldn't be a problem on interstates; they're good about keeping those clean(-ish). Just go to Henderson, being real damn careful on the road there, and pick up 26 south to 85 south. Then take it to Atlanta and 20 West, where you can keep going to Dallas or take a jog south to 10 if you're going to Houston or SA.

On the way out, just pay attention and be careful. Be ready to drop to 10--20mph if there's ice, and do not under any circumstances allow yourself to remotely tailgate. Until you're safely out of the Cold Zone, do stuff like this:

*Do nothing sudden. Ever.
*Don't change speed and direction at the same time.
*Brake before curves and coast through them.
*Brake before bridges and coast over them.
*Brake before and be ready for hijinks if you're approaching a patch of deep shade.
*If you happen to find yourself in a skid/spin, just steer in the direction you want to go. Steering "into the skid" is ambiguous.

All of which should be tempered by common sense and your observations.

Also, if you're being careful, you'll likely be going slower than people who are (or think they are) used to it. Pull over and let people pass you when it's safe.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:36 AM on December 16, 2003


ROU's advice is tenfold if you are driving in an area where people are not used to slippery roads (either snow is rare, or lots of tourists, or whatever.) Idiots - not snow and ice - kill on highways.
posted by PrinceValium at 11:39 AM on December 16, 2003


Weather.com's driving forecast for tomorrow. Looks like you're better off heading south through Atlanta rather than trying to take I-40, but I don't know how much distance that adds to your trip (where in TX are you headed, anyways?) Either way, I would advise some caution drivin' until you get west of I-65, at least.
posted by Johnny Assay at 11:45 AM on December 16, 2003


I noticed that there's a current NWS advisory for your area:

A STRONG COLD FRONT WILL MOVE INTO THE WESTERN CAROLINAS LATE TONIGHT. RAIN SHOWERS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS FRONT WILL MIX WITH... AND EVENTUALLY CHANGE TO... SNOW SHOWERS IN THE PREDAWN HOURS AS COLDER AIR INVADES THE NORTH CAROLINA MOUNTAINS. SNOW SHOWERS ARE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR MUCH OF WEDNESDAY.

SNOWFALL AMOUNTS OF 1 TO 2 INCHES ARE ANTICIPATED FOR MUCH OF THE NORTH CAROLINA MOUNTAIN REGION... WITH THE HIGHEST SNOWFALL TOTALS EXPECTED AT HIGHER ELEVATIONS NEAR THE TENNESSEE BORDER.

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY COULD BE ISSUED FOR AT LEAST PART OF THE AREA LATER TODAY.

SNOWFALL WILL END FROM THE SOUTH WEDNESDAY NIGHT...


It looks like you may have some snow on the ground in the AM, but it's not likely to be too significant. For those of us who drive in the snow several months a year, 1 to 2 inches is not a big deal, but it can wreak havoc in other locations. The key is to drive relatively slowly and avoid sudden movements (lane changes, stops, etc). The number one piece of advice is to allow significantly more space between yourself and the car in front of you than you're used to.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:53 AM on December 16, 2003


I'm pretty sure that ROU means to say "Hendersonville" instead of "Henderson."
posted by Vidiot at 12:11 PM on December 16, 2003


I appreciate all the help, all. I'm heading just north of Houston, and while my usual trip takes me down 85 and 65 to 10, I've decided to go 20 all the way, and head abit south to my home.
posted by Scottk at 12:56 PM on December 16, 2003


Plus, this way you can see the Peachoid in SC and stop at the Varsity in Atlanta. (Official site here.)
posted by Vidiot at 1:06 PM on December 16, 2003


I wouldn't recommend taking 20 all the way. After you get past, oh, say Birmingham it gets pretty damn boring, and you'll have to go all the way to Dallas to pick up 45 (or take not-limited-access-highways).

The stretch of 20 between Atlanta and Birmingham is pretty though, especially around Talladega (I can't remember if you can see the track from the interstate or not). It might be worth taking 59 south from Meridian to Slidell, or 55 from Jackson south to whereever it hits 12.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:35 PM on December 16, 2003


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