PHOENIX, Ariz. - A forecast of heavy snow across parts of the state's high country this weekend has crews from the Arizona Department of Transportation already preparing to work around the clock to tackle icy interstates and highways. Forecasts call for up to a foot or more of snow to fall in some higher elevation areas, while rain showers are forecast for the Phoenix area.
ADOT has 40 snowplows that operate within its Flagstaff District. Snowplow operators in that region are getting ready to start 12-hour shifts at midnight tonight. Those crews will start plowing as soon as necessary as the storm begins to make its presence known.
In some cases, snowplow trucks are used to spread de-icing agents ahead of the storm to help slow the build-up of snow and ice on highways. That helps with initial efforts to keep highways as safe as possible.
As with all winter storms, ADOT's first priority is to keep Interstates 17 and 40 open to traffic. However, if blowing and drifting snow become severe and conditions are deemed too slippery, the interstate routes can be closed.
More than 150 additional plows are available in other ADOT districts around the state.
ADOT recommends drivers stay up to date on both weather and highway conditions before heading into the high country once this weekend's storm arrives. Drivers can log on to ADOT's Travel Information site at www.az511.gov or call 5-1-1 for highway condition information.
Drivers also can track major highway conditions at www.twitter.com/ArizonaDOT.
Drivers can find safe driving tips and a list of items to have in your vehicle when heading into winter conditions on ADOT's "Know Snow" website at www.azdot.gov/KnowSnow.