DOTs monitor El Nino for winter weather effects

A recent survey from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) showed that 70 percent of the nation’s state departments of transportation (DOTs) have been monitoring El Nino for possible winter weather effects in their respective areas.

El Nino is an ocean and atmospheric phenomenon that is difficult to track. Because of its unpredictable nature, many DOTs have made preparations for winter weather just in case. Some predictions show that El Nino will have serious implications for winter weather.

"The primary goal of state DOTs is to maintain mobility throughout the year," Bud Wright, AASHTO executive director, said. "Winter time is no exception and according to our survey even some of our southern most states are tracking El Niño and preparing accordingly."

The survey included 41 state departments of transportation, which all confirmed that they have been closely watching the weather patterns.

"We know there's going to be impacts due to El Niño this season," Rick Nelson, AASHTO snow and ice cooperative program manager, said. "There's also a lot of uncertainty about when and how the roads in each state will be impacted. We've already seen flooding and mudslides in the Pacific Northwest and early snowfalls and warmer temperatures in other parts of the country. State DOTs are preparing for whatever happens and, at the same time, they're also hoping for the best."

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