After last Wednesday’s wintry weather caused a traffic disaster of truly epic proportions, VDOT is wasting no time warning drivers of the light freezing rain predicted tonight.
“Another bout of sleet and freezing rain is expected after 7 p.m., and the Virginia Department of Transportation urges motorists to be alert to changing road conditions in northern Virginia tonight,” VDOT said in a statement. “With rain, sleet, and freezing temperatures also forecasted for 4 a.m. tomorrow, drivers are asked to monitor forecasts carefully and postpone or limit travel during the morning rush.”
To help keep roadways clear, the agency has 1,600 trucks staging along Northern Virginia roadways.
By 3 p.m. today, about 1,600 trucks will begin staging along interstates and major roads throughout Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties for quick response.
Crews pre-treated trouble spots today on interstates 66, 95, 395, and 495—including bridges and ramps prone to freezing such as the Springfield interchange, I-66 at Route 29 and the Capital Beltway interchange at Route 1—with liquid magnesium chloride. Problem spots on other major roads, such as the Fairfax County Parkway and routes 1, 7, 28, 29, 50 and 123, were pre-treated with salt brine.
Although forecasters say tonight’s freezing rain should be light, they also caution that some slick spots could develop, particularly in the early morning hours. A separate threat of wintry weather on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning is expected to produce mostly rain in Arlington and the District, according to the Capital Weather Gang.
With the first flakes beginning to fall, county snow removal crews are getting ready to tackle yet another significant snow storm. The National Weather Service is calling for 3-6 inches of snow, with the heaviest snowfall between 10:00 PM and 4:00 AM tonight.
The county says about 45 snow plows will be put into service tonight. Crews will work in 12-hour shifts to try to get streets cleared in time for the morning rush. Since first priority is given to the most heavily-traveled roads, expect most residential streets to be at least partially snow-covered.
With forecasters talking about the possibility of another major snowfall this weekend, there’s also the issue of the snow removal budget. VDOT is already $5 million over its $27 million budget in Northern Virginia, according to WTOP. Arlington’s annual snow removal budget is approximately $1 million, county spokesperson Shannon Whalen-McDaniel said today. No word yet on how much has been spent so far.
The county’s press release on tonight’s snow preps is after the jump.