FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for most of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley this week, and the Arkansas Department of Transportation is already preparing for the snow.

“We are in 24/7 mode now,” said Dave Parker, ARDOT Public Information Officer, on the morning of January 23. With the extreme weather expected to begin arriving on the afternoon of Tuesday, January 24, road crews are already working around the clock to pretreat the area’s most-traveled roads and highways.

We’re looking at this definitely being a heavy plowing event. It’s going to be those large, fluffy flakes and sometimes it’s going to be coming down so hard we won’t be able to keep up. 

Dave Parker, ARDOT Public Information Officer

He added that crews are already treating interstates and Highway 412 with a traditional salt brine. He also said that if the temperatures remain at or around freezing, the resulting slush makes plowing the roads safer and easier.

But he says that motorists will still need to be patient.

“We won’t be able to hit the secondary roads as quickly as we’d like to,” he said, especially later on Tuesday. “If we can keep the plows going, we should be in good shape.”

He said that falling temperatures late Tuesday or early Wednesday could present a risk of re-freezing. He noted that road crews will be out looking for trouble spots like patches of ice.

As for those that have to get out and drive in the weather, his advice was fairly simple: have a “general awareness” of the situation beginning on Tuesday afternoon.

“It could get a little dicey out there,” he said. He suggested that drivers should allow extra time during commutes and minimize driving at night.

And before the weather actually arrives, he reminded drivers to be on the lookout for large ARDOT trucks driving slowly as they treat the roads.

“We’re out there working for you,” he said. “So back off just a little bit.”