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County emergency managers prepare for potential snowstorm

Single digits and the potential for inches of snow are all things emergency managers have been preparing for all week.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — With inches of snow expected to pile up across our area in the next few days, emergency managers and counties are preparing for the extreme winter weather.  

“We in Arkansas don’t see snow and ice that often, so when we do it’s exciting, but it can also be hazardous,” said Channing Barker, Benton Couty Communications Director.

With 1,700 miles of road to maintain in Benton County, road crews have been working tirelessly this week and will continue into next week. 

Barker says they typically pre-treat the roads with potassium chloride before we see snow or ice, but they haven’t been able to do that because it would freeze over making the roads even more hazardous. So, they will be treating the roads with a mixture of salt and sand.  

“Our guys came in at 5 a.m. and they started responding to any ice related patches we were seeing and went out and treated those, but since our crews have been in since 5 a.m. and earlier this week they were taking 12-hour shifts, we are hopeful this week that we are prepared to go into the next round of storms,” she said. 

RELATED: Gov. Hutchinson issues $100K in emergency funding ahead of winter weather

The best piece of advice from all emergency managers is once the storm hits to stay home if you can. If you do have to get on the roads, they say to take it slow and leave plenty of room between you and other cars. 

They also say to fill up your tank, have a blanket, water and food in case you get stranded. 

Washington County Emergency Manager John Luther is concerned people will find other ways to keep warm and raise the risk of a fire. 

“Whether it be a fireplace or a wood stove in the home, electric heaters, electric blankets and things of that nature, we want them to certainty exercise extreme caution with extension cords and things, heaters that could fall over and cause fire or getting rugs or blankets too close to those,” he said. 

Deputy Director for the Sebastian County Emergency Management, Travis Cooper says they have been coordinating with city officials in the county and road crews to be prepared.  

“We do have crews on standby to come in but trucks are ready and most likely they are going to be out two maybe three times each day making routes to make sure our roadways, primary, secondary, roadways, making sure they are being taken care of,” he said. 

Once weather conditions get worse if you do have to get out on the roads to make sure and check iDriveArkansas to see what conditions are like.  

RELATED: Winter Storms late-weekend into next week