Below-freezing temperatures expected to set in after sunset Friday could create icy road conditions into the morning on Saturday, officials said.
After a day of unusual snowfall, some roads in the Baton Rouge area grew wet and slushy. Gavin Phillips, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in New Orleans predicted the wet road conditions could turn into black ice on elevated and less-traveled roads as temperatures dropped from the mid-30s to the mid- to upper 20s overnight.
Black ice is defined by the weather service as patchy ice on roadways that can be difficult to see. It is most prevalent in the early mornings when snow melts on roadways and refreezes overnight.
However, Phillips said most major thoroughfares were expected to dry out before the temperature drop. A hard freeze warning was in effect overnight.
Despite knowing school was canceled Friday, Christopher Honore said he woke up early to see if the weather forecast of snow came true, and he …
Phillips said slick conditions could last until 10 a.m. Saturday in shady areas, with most ice gone by 8 a.m.
Temperatures are expected to rise to 50 degrees and melt most of the snow on Saturday, he said. Some could stick around through the weekend.
Conditions should be less severe in the Acadiana region, National Weather Service meteorologist Jared Rackley in Lake Charles said Friday morning.
Rackley said snow was already starting to melt there Friday morning, and the process was expected to continue as temperatures reached the 40s late in the day. He said the warmer temperatures should have allowed most roads to dry out and not ice overnight.
Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development spokesman Rodney Mallett said their crews planned to continue watching the weather into Saturday, putting out sand and salt when needed.
"It worked today, hopefully, it will work tomorrow," Mallett said on Friday. He said they planned to work through the night, if needed, to keep all roads open.
Local officials urged people to use caution when navigating any roads Friday night.
Clay Rives, director of the East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said the parish was coordinating with the state transportation department to sand roads and stage barricades for closures.
In hope most residents' power is restored, the East Baton Rouge city-parish government decided not to open additional shelters for Friday night. Rowdy Gaudet, assistant chief administrative officer, said both St. Vincent de Paul's shelter, at 1623 Convention Street, and the Salvation Army's Center of Hope, at 7361 Airline Highway, still had room to house those in need and did not expect to exceed capacity as of Friday afternoon.
"We've made plans to have a shelter ready, if the existing capacity is exceeded," Gaudet said.
Rives encouraged people to take special precautions when driving on elevated and less traveled roads, where ice was expected to worsen overnight.
Livingston Parish Homeland Security Director Mark Harrell said parish workers cleared trees off roads during the day Friday. He said they also cleared snow off bridges in an effort to dry them out before cold temperatures set in and created ice overnight.
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