via Moak: MDOT urges winter preparedness, clarionledger.com, 12/23/2015
I don’t know about you, but having warm, wet weather doesn’t feel much like Christmas to me. Even though I’ve lived in the Magnolia State nearly my entire life, I still inexplicably associate Christmas with cold weather. Perhaps it’s the result of growing up with movies, music and TV shows that make us think of sleigh rides, snowmen and some Norman Rockwell holiday fantasy. Regardless, though, we should be used to this by now; if there is one thing that’s predictable about Mississippi’s weather, it’s that it will be unpredictable. One year, the kids have to bundle up to enjoy their Christmas toys outside; the next, we might be running the air conditioning.
Many forecasts say early 2016 will be heavily influenced by a strong El Nino, meaning that — for the South, anyway — temperatures will be below normal and moisture above normal. Add those together, and it’s not inconceivable we could soon be in the middle of a protracted cold snap, with some frozen precipitation possible. And — as you know if you were around during one of our ice events — we don’t have the best (ahem) “track record” when the roads get icy.
With that in mind, the Mississippi Department of Transportation this week sent out a timely reminder that we need to be preparing now for winter weather as we make our travel plans.
“MDOT’s number one priority is the safety of the traveling public,” said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath. “While weather isn’t something we can control, we can be prepared for winter weather beforehand. MDOT encourages everyone to take the necessary precautions to ensure they are as safe as possible this winter season.”
To help us prepare, the folks at MDOT have produced a special website athttp://mdot.ms.gov/winter/index.html. The site has a lot of great resources; I won’t steal their thunder by listing everything, but here are a few of their tips to help get started on your winter weather preparedness plans:
- Have your vehicle battery and charging system checked for optimum performance.
- Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in your vehicle’s cooling system.
- Have your brakes checked.
- Make sure your heater, defroster and windshield wipers work properly.
MDOT also suggests creating a winter weather car kit to keep in your vehicle in case of a winter weather emergency, containing these items:
- Windshield scraper
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Jumper cables
- Cell phone charger
MDOT does a lot to keep us safe by developing and maintaining our state’s traffic infrastructure, using technology to keep an eye on traffic and road conditions, sending out travel-related information and educating the public about travel-related issues. A host of services is available at www.MDOTtraffic.com, including free smartphone apps, traffic reports, and more.