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Crews Pretreating Roads Ahead of Potentially Slippery Saturday

Arlington County crews pretreating S. Glebe Road with brine (file photo)(Update at 2:15 p.m.) Arlington County is preparing for the possibility of snow, sleet and freezing rain on Saturday, though the exact forecast is still far from certain.

“Crews began pretreating roads yesterday and will continue today to prepare for the expected icy weather conditions on the roadways,” Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien told ARLnow.com Friday morning.

“Due to the low confidence of this forecast, we are still analyzing the level of response that will be required” on Saturday, O’Brien continued. “A determination of resource levels and time of activation will be made this afternoon.”

VDOT, meanwhile, is encouraging drivers to stay off the roads in Northern Virginia on Saturday.

Virginia Department of Transportation and contract crews are preparing for plummeting temperatures and a gamut of winter weather forecast for northern Virginia this weekend, from early Saturday morning through Sunday morning.

Drivers are asked to monitor weather reports for the latest updates to avoid being on the road during periods of limited visibility or icy conditions. Stay off roads Saturday or delay trips until Sunday if possible, to avoid being caught in deteriorating conditions as weather transitions between snow, sleet and freezing rain through the day.

Crews began pretreating roads yesterday and will be staged roadside in the region by 10 p.m. tonight. Throughout Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Arlington* counties (*Arlington maintains own secondary roads) crews treat about 5,200 lane miles of interstates and other high-volume roads with liquid magnesium chloride or brine when conditions allow for winter weather. Learn more about northern Virginia’s snow preparations.

Why does VDOT ask drivers to stay home?

  • Visibility will be limited during periods of snow.
  • Freezing rain causes an ice glaze that is difficult to see. Black ice often looks like pavement that is simply wet, making it extremely hazardous for driving or walking.
  • Four-wheel drive vehicles cannot stop any better than two-wheel drive vehicles on ice.

It could be deja vu if the weather does trend toward more freezing rain. Icy weather caused a number of crashes and other problems on the roads in Arlington less than a month ago, on Saturday, Dec. 17.

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