It can happen in an instant. That moment when roads go from slick to frozen, making travel treacherous. A moment which at the moment, is not an exact science.
"We hope to someday be able to tell the area road departments and street departments and highway crews what the pavement temperature's likely to be during some type of winter event," said Steve Piltz of the National Weather Service.
And TCC has a device that could help them do just that.
"Brand new, very new," said TCC Associate Dean David Sollars, pointing out the infrared temperature sensor pointed smack at the road way on their Northeast campus.
"And with that information we're able to tell how quickly it's frozen or if it's frozen," said Sollars.
Data which is then transmitted to the National Weather Service.
"Looks like at four in the morning the temperature of the road bed goes below 32, and stays below 32 until about 8:40 in the morning and then warms up quickly after that," said Piltz.
Information which could help the city strategize more precisely when to salt, not only improving safety, but saving money in the process.
"If you look just at the city of Tulsa, they spend I think somewhere close to $15 million a year on the things that they put on the streets to try to help get the motorists through the winter storms, if we can give them just a small improvement by being able to forecast that, a small improvement on $15 million is a lot and that could go to other things.," he said.
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