The National Weather Service has issued Ice Storm Warnings for portions of Virginia while Winter Weather Advisories have been issued as far north as north-central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. Winter Storm Warnings are also up for west-central Virginia and north-central North Carolina.
While light snow, sleet, and freezing rain is forecast to push through portions of the northern Mid Atlantic and southern New England this weekend, the ice will be somewhat more significant in Virginia. Because 0.25″ – 0.5″ of ice is expected to accumulate there, the Ice Storm Warning was raised from midnight tonight through 5am Sunday.
According to the National Weather Service, “Power outages and tree damage are expected due to the
ice. Travel could be nearly impossible on Saturday.” They add, “The combination of the icing forecast and the snow and ice already on trees will make for a very dangerous situation.”
Because of the severe ice conditions there, travel is strongly discouraged. Officials advise that if people must travel, they should keep an extra flashlight, food and water in their vehicle in case of an emergency. In Virginia, travelers can call 511 for the latest road conditions.
People not planning to leave their homes should prepare for possible power outages. Because the damage ice can do to the electrical grid, prolonged power failures are possible.
Freezing rain occurs when temperatures are locked at or below freezing at the surface, but moist, mild air moves above it. As relatively milder rain falls through the atmosphere from clouds, it freezes as it approaches or hits the surface, becoming a glaze of ice.
While the ice won’t be nearly as bad as Virginia, it could still create hazardous conditions in southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, eastern Maryland, the balance of Virginia, and northern North Carolina. Some snow showers will also fly on the northern side of this weekend system, but accumulations will be light at 1-3″.