Winter Weather Advisory issued ahead of potentially icy Thursday morning

Freezing rain clings to trees in Westover in 2021 (Staff Photo by Jay Westcott)

Freezing rain will likely fall early Thursday, prompting a Winter Weather Advisory from the National Weather Service.

Arlington could see dangerous, icy conditions on local roads tomorrow morning, forecasters say. Eventually, the frozen precipitation will switch over to just plain rain as temperatures rise during the day.

Gusty winds are also expected on Thursday.

From from NWS:


* WHAT…Freezing rain expected. Total ice accumulations of a glaze to around one tenth of an inch.

* WHERE…Portions of central, northeast and northern Maryland, The District of Columbia and northern Virginia.

* WHEN…From 10 PM this evening to 1 PM EST Thursday.

* IMPACTS…Difficult travel conditions are possible. The hazardous conditions will likely impact the morning commute on Thursday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Wintry precipitation begins this evening, then becomes more intense tonight into Thursday morning. Warmer air should push in Thursday afternoon changing the precipitation to rain.


Slow down and use caution while traveling.

When venturing outside, watch your first few steps taken on steps, sidewalks, and driveways, which could be icy and slippery, increasing your risk of a fall and injury.

The Capital Weather Gang says Arlington is on the approximate line between some ice accumulation and mostly wet roads, with northern portions of the county likely seeing more ice.

VDOT, meanwhile, says it’s preparing to do battle with Mother Nature and try to keep roads passable.

From a VDOT press release:

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is mobilizing its equipment and resources in preparation for a winter weather event to impact parts of the Commonwealth Wednesday night into Thursday.

Incoming rain throughout Virginia is forecasted to shift to sleet and freezing rain in the northern, northwestern, and central areas of the Commonwealth beginning around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 14 and going through the morning of Thursday, Dec. 15. This weather event is expected to impact VDOT’s Staunton, Salem, Culpeper, Northern Virginia and Lynchburg districts.

VDOT is paying close attention to the forecast and preparing for what could be a significant icing event. District crews will not apply liquid pretreatment to roads in areas where the event is forecasted to start as rain, which will wash away the pretreatment application. Crews are preparing equipment and will be ready to treat roadways with salt, sand and abrasives as precipitation transitions to sleet or freezing rain.

Motorists should pay attention to weather forecasts in areas where they plan to drive and delay travel on Thursday morning in the impacted areas, especially along the I-81 corridor, Culpeper and Northern Virginia regions.

Safety and Travel Resources

When winter weather arrives, residents and motorists should plan travel ahead of time, check road conditions, prepare an emergency car kit, follow forecasts and announcements and limit travel based on conditions. […]

Statewide Improvements for the 2022-2023 SeasonIn addition to its traditional year-round snow preparation, VDOT made improvements to address items from the Snow Removal and I-95 Incident Performance Audits by the State Inspector General and the Winter Weather Event and I-95 Interagency After-Action Report by CNA:

Improved contracting to be more flexible, competitive and attractive to contractors to address equipment and personnel shortages.

Improved communications and command structure for better internal and interagency cooperation during crisis events.

Assigned staff to drive routes and report on conditions to supplement traffic cameras.

Acquired a system to allow two-way communications between drivers and VDOT within a defined geographic area.

Continued participation in winter weather exercises, led by The Virginia Department of Emergency Management, to foster interagency cooperation.

Resources and Readiness

In addition to operational improvements, VDOT maintains a number of resources to contend with inclement weather.

  • $220 million statewide budgeted for winter weather in 2022-2023
  • 11,493 pieces of equipment (VDOT-owned and contracted equipment combined, as of Nov. 30)
  • Approximately 1,148 vehicle contracts in process, and is continuing to receive additional contract bids (as of Nov. 30)
  • More than 696,000 tons of salt, sand and treated abrasives, and more than 2.3 million gallons of liquid calcium chloride and salt brine.