Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Snow, ice, salt record

The winter of 2013-14 almost certainly already has set a new standard for PennDOT salt use - with more to come.

Snow, ice, salt record


With salt, salt, everywhere, walking around these days you might get the impression that somebody just drained the Dead Sea under your feet.

A lot of that salt – actually over 100,000 tons – has been spread by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Philadelphia district.

Even before the midweek ice extravaganza, PennDOT had spread 110,000 tons of the stuff on the region’s road, the third-largest total for any winter in records dating to 1989.

That total has knocked the winter of 1995-96 – the second snowiest in Philadelphia in 130 years -- into fourth place.

The tally for the ice storm isn’t available yet, says PennDOT’s Charlie Metzger, but we would be shocked if this season hasn’t already toppled the reigning ice king, the winter of 2009-10, at 142,768 tons.

The weekend snow threats have backed off, but the spreaders aren't going to get much rest.

What’s more, the February sun is generating rivulets of snow melt onto streets that continue to flash-freeze overnight, and PennDOT trucks are on the prowl for further trouble, Metzger said.

Some streets that typically don’t make their way onto the traffic reports have been treacherous in the mornings.

It all adds up to a 100 percent chance of additional salt accumulations.

Inquirer Weather Columnist
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About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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