Plunging temperatures could lead to slippery Friday morning commute

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- With temperatures plunging once again overnight, it could be a messy Friday morning commute with more slick roads.

It was a slippery drive home for many in the area Thursday night, as a dusting of snow wreaked havoc for some out on the roads, but Green Bay’s Public Works Director Steve Grenier said he’s more concerned about Friday’s morning commute.

“The bigger fear that I’ve got right now is because we are expected to get into digits below zero overnight, we get a phenomenon called freeze back,” said Grenier.

Freeze back is when the snow melts on the roadway, forming a layer of water. If there’s nowhere for the water to go, it will flash freeze.

“That’s when you get that black ice or that thin layer of ice you don’t see and that becomes even more hazardous than allowing a snow pack on the street,” said Grenier.

Grenier said in anticipation of the snow, crews did lay down a brine mixture that was even more powerful than the one they normally use.

“Salt is really only effective down to about 15 degrees, maybe a little bit less, but when we start getting into single digits and digits below zero, salt is just ineffective. You are literally throwing money out the window,” said Grenier. “So what we did was blend in calcium chloride along with our brine mix and that helps us get down a couple degrees colder in pavement temps.”

But even with the tougher brine, Grenier said there’s only so much they can do with below zero temps and cold pavement.

“This snow we’ve got is a fine snow, it’s small and gets into pores of pavement and there is not a lot we can do above what we’ve done,” said Grenier.

As always, give yourself more time out on the roadways.