Why Weird Stripes Appear on Minnesota Roads Before It Snows
Have you noticed these strange stripes that seem to show up on roads across Minnesota right before it snows?
One of the benefits of living here in Minnesota, where snow and ice are common for nearly half of the year, is that we've become pretty good at dealing with all this winter weather. That same winter weather, when it occurs in other parts of the country, sometimes brings everything to a halt. But not here!
So, first, here's a quick shout-out to all the plow drivers for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and various municipalities (like the city of Rochester and Olmsted County) who answer the call and head out into the cold to keep our roads driveable when Old Man Winter throws more snow our way.
But did you know MnDOT doesn't just wait for the snow to fall before taking action? They've come up with a way to try to get AHEAD of winter storms. MnDOT as well as various municipal public works departments (like Rochester) have been out looking at problem areas on roads and highways for a while now and have a special procedure designed to try to prevent snow and ice from building up and causing slick spots.
It's called pretreating, and it involves spraying a salt-brine solution on roads before it snows. (That'd be those weird stripes you might have seen on area roads.) And in the right area and under the right conditions, it can help keep ice from building up on the road and make it easier to clear the snow that's likely on the way.
As you'll see in the MnDOT video below, keeping our roads free of ice and snow has come a long way. Speaking of coming a long way, do you remember how different Minnesota's license plates have looked over the years? Keep scrolling to see what they looked like the year you were born!