As we prepare for low temps, wind gusts and a possibly wintry mix, the Virginia Department of Transportation has the following safety reminders:
- Please continue to monitor forecasts closely as forecasts can improve or worsen quickly. The National Weather Service forecast shows winter weather will impact the region from overnight Wednesday through Friday. The forecast shows the potential for periods of freezing rain and sleet, as well as below-freezing temperatures, heavy rain, and high winds. A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for western Loudoun County starting at 4 a.m. Thursday.
- Drivers should expect roads to be impacted Thursday and Friday. Today will be the best day for holiday travel. Adjust travel plans and avoid all nonessential travel during the height of the storm. This helps to avoid deteriorating conditions and to allow crews room to work.
- Crews have already begun pretreating and brining the roads and will begin deploying trucks early Thursday morning to treat roads as needed.
- Treat anything that looks wet as if it could be icy, especially bridges, ramps, overpasses, and elevated surfaces. If there is snow or ice on roadways, travel is hazardous.
Thursday Morning (Dec. 22)
- Precipitation will begin from southwest to northeast during or just prior to rush hour.
- Areas along and west of the Blue Ridge (Western Loudoun and points west, extending southwest through Roanoke) will likely experience a start as a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain.
- Northern Virginia will see a chance for a wintry mix before a quick change to rain.
- Low temperatures will be around freezing during the early commute and will rise into the upper 30s into the mid-morning hours.
- Reduce your speeds and be especially careful on bridges, ramps and overpasses during this time.
Thursday Afternoon (Dec. 22)
- Areas of rain are likely throughout Northern Virginia, with over an inch of rain possible.
- Areas farther west will see a changeover from wintry mix to rain into the mid-afternoon.
- Temperatures will gradually rise into the 40s for Northern Virginia but will likely hang in the mid 30s west of the Blue Ridge.
- Drivers should watch out for slick roads west and possible ponding.
Thursday Evening and Night (Dec. 22)
- Areas of rain will linger after sunset but will taper off closer to midnight.
- Temperatures will range from the mid 30s west to closer to 50 degrees around DC.
- Winds will become breezy out of the east-southeast gusting to 25 mph at times.
Friday Morning (Dec. 23)
- Areas of rain will develop early Friday morning (6-9 a.m.) ahead of the arctic cold front.
- Temperatures will range from the 30s west of the Blue Ridge to near 50 degrees closer to I-95.
- Temperatures will plummet into 20s around noon, so any residual moisture on the roadways will have the potential to turn icy.
- Confidence is low for iciness but it’s high enough on a big travel day that we want you to be extra cautious and avoid travel or change travel plans if possible.
- Winds will also become an issue, gusting from 40-50 mph at times as the cold front moves through into the afternoon.
- Drivers should watch for possible downed trees and debris in the road, and be extra cautious on bridges and overpasses.
Friday Afternoon (Dec. 23)
- Precipitation will exit into the afternoon and the wind and cold will be the main concern.
- Temperatures will likely be in the teens along the Blue Ridge and west and low 20s closer to I-95 into the afternoon.
- Factor in the winds which will continue to gust from 30-40+ mph and it will likely feel like the single digits closer to DC and possibly below zero for the I-81 corridor.
- If you’re on the interstate and need assistance, please dial #77 and ask for a Safety Service Patroller.
Friday Evening and Night (Dec. 24)
- Cold and breezy conditions will remain into Friday night with lows in the teens closer to DC and possibly single digits along and west of the Blue Ridge.
- Wind chills will likely be in the single digits with winds still gusting to 20-25 mph at times.
The Weekend (Dec. 24 – 25)
- The holiday weekend will be partly cloudy to mostly sunny and cold both days with lows in the teens and highs in the upper 20s each day.
- Winds will be breezy at times Saturday but breezes should diminish into Sunday.
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