As Virginia braces what could be their most memorable ice storm in quite some time, other parts of the Mid Atlantic brace for slick spots and potentially dangerous travel conditions this weekend. A long-duration icing event is possible across the Deep South and will extend into the Mid Atlantic, and could last from tonight into Saturday and beyond. Freezing rain is expected to cripple parts of central and eastern VA, as numerous power outages are expected with trees and power lines coming down.
Ice storms are rare but do happen on occasion. All it takes is for surface objects including walkways and roads to be at or below 32 degrees F. When light rain or drizzle falls onto these surfaces, it freezes on contact. This is what happened early Thursday morning in Fort Worth, TX, with over 100 vehicles involved in a pile-up accident. This is an extremely dangerous situation once it starts to happen.
An all-out ice storm is possible across central and eastern VA tonight and into this weekend. Charge those phones now, and prepare for extended power outages and impassible roads.
Current models show the amounts of freezing rain expected, and they are significant. The below model is the NAM from the site pivotalweather.com. Just as an illustration, and nor a forecast, the amounts below would be crippling in reality.
It does not take much ice to cripple a region. Only 0.10-0.25″ of ice is enough to be staggering for a region. Once ice reaches this amounts, roads become impassible, sidewalks become dangerous, and trees and powerlines buckle under the weight of ice, resulting in power outages for days.
Please consult your local NWS office for warning information, and for official information. Use caution with space heaters as they can easily become a fire hazard.
Use flashlights instead of candles, since open flames can be dangerous.
Stay with us as we provide coverage on this unfolding icing event, and most importantly, stay off the roads!