A mix of ice and freezing rain will descend on the region this afternoon, likely impacting the evening commute.
Weather forecasters said the weather should take a turn for the worst at about 3 p.m., when a Winter Weather Advisory will go into effect. The advisory extends to 9 p.m.
“A wintry mix with freezing rain and sleet is expected,” the National Weather Service reported. “The ice will result in very slippery conditions on sidewalks, roads and bridges. A light glaze of ice is expected.”
Even if temperatures are above freezing, ice could form because the ground is still very cold, forecasters said.
Transit Agencies Get Ready
The D.C. Department of Public Works said it deployed more than 200 trucks to prepare roads beginning Monday morning. Local residents can check snow.dc.gov to stay apprised of weather conditions and track snow plows. It
The Virginia Department of Transportation said trucks were out treating roads all day, and it warned motorists of slick patches. VDOT reminded them to check 511Virginia.org for real-time traffic information.
It appeared that many agencies were heeding advice to leave work early, if possible, though as of 2 p.m. the Federal Government remained open with no change to leave policies.
MARC train is operating as normal, but said it will add cars on certain trains to accommodate commuters leaving early.
The American Automobile Association offered these tips for driving on icy roadways:
- Slow down: accelerate, turn and brake gradually. Adjust your speed to the road conditions and leave yourself ample room to stop. Allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
- Do not tailgate: normal following distances of three to four seconds on dry pavement should be extended to a minimum of eight to ten seconds when driving on slippery surfaces. The extra time will provide additional braking room should a sudden stop become necessary.
- Watch the traffic ahead: slow down immediately at the sight of brake lights, fishtailing cars, sideways skids or emergency flashers ahead.
- Never use cruise control on slippery roads: patches of ice can cause unexpected wheel spin and use of cruise control can slow driver response.
- Avoid unnecessarily changing lanes: this increases the chances of hitting a patch of ice between lanes that could cause loss of vehicle control.
- Use extreme caution on bridges and overpasses: black ice typically forms first in shaded areas of the roadway and on bridges and overpasses that freeze first and melt last. Although the road leading up to a bridge may be fine, the bridge itself could be a sheet of ice.
- Move Over: move over one lane for law enforcement and emergency roadside personnel assisting motorists. It is the law. If you are unable to move over, slow down.
- Carry a winter weather kit in your car: contents should include a fully charged cellphone (and car charger), ice scraper, blanket, warm winter clothing, flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, a bag of kitty litter, reflective triangles/flares, shovel and cloth/paper towels.