AMARILLO, TX- Crews with the Texas Department of Transportation are urging people in the panhandle to stay off the roads Tuesday if at all possible.
NewsChannel 10 went on a ride-along with snow plow operator as he cleared a stretch of Airport Boulevard Tuesday afternoon. That driver had been at work since 4 a.m. Christmas morning.
"They were on standby since nine last night," TXDOT spokesperson Paul Braun said. "I think a lot of them came in about four this morning when things really started picking up and they've been working through the morning, and they'll work through the afternoon and evening."
There were about 75 TXDOT workers, and 15 snow plows spread across the panhandle Christmas day. Crews spent the day plowing busy highways and roads because it's all they really could do in the windy conditions.
"We are putting down some bottom ash and some magnesium chloride on some ramps and overpasses, but for the most part they're doing pretty well. It's not as slippery as we expected it to be," Braun said.
One vehicle actually rear-ended a TXDOT snow plow today, getting the vehicle stuck under the truck. Braun said incidents like that are not uncommon because the trucks stir up big snow clouds as they work, making it hard for drivers to see the trucks.
"It just stresses the importance that the folks who are traveling out there need to not only look out for themselves and look out for other vehicles, but look out for our plow operators as well," Braun said. "They're out there working, so give them the room. Don't take a chance, don't crowd the plow."
The Dallas-Fort Worth area and Wichita Falls also had rough winter weather. TXDOT has an online internal system that is constantly updated by all agencies across the state. It's that system that would notify other TXDOT branches if the panhandle area needed more manpower to clear the roads.
TXDOT crews urge everyone in the panhandle to stay home the rest of Tuesday night if possible.