WASHINGTON — The biggest hurdle for travelers this weekend will likely be winter weather. Snow, sleet and, a driver’s worst nemesis, freezing rain, are forecast to begin early Sunday.
ABC7 Chief Meteorologist Doug Hill calls it the “dreaded wintry mix” for good reason. Sunday’s storm will likely begin by pelting the roads across the region with a layer of snow and sleet. The precipitation is expected to then change to freezing rain, which may rime whatever ice has already accumulated.
The routes well north and west of the metro area will be especially icy. Interstate 81 and roads in northwestern Virginia and central Maryland will likely be treacherous for most of the day as the cold air will remain entrenched in the Shenandoah Valley.
Ice buildup on power lines will likely lead to some power outages and dark intersections in a few areas.
Travel is strongly discouraged during icy conditions. Annually, more accidents are blamed on freezing rain than snow.
Saturday looks like the better day to hit the roads. There will be plenty of holiday-themed events across the region including the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, National Harbor’s Holiday Festival and the Manassas Christmas Parade at 10 a.m.
The Redskins have a home game this weekend at 1 p.m. Turnout at Sunday’s match-up against the Chiefs is expected to be light due to the weather, amid other factors. Even so, look for heavier traffic on the Beltway and the routes through Largo and Landover before and after the game.
I-95 Express Lanes Extension project
Construction crews postponed work on the I-95 Express Lanes Extension Project on Thursday night and Friday due to rain. They may find a dry window to perform some work on Saturday before the next round of weather moves in. Road work zones on I-95 and across the region should remain sparse because of the forecast.
Track work will affect Metrorail customers. On the Blue Line, shuttle buses will replace trains between the Rosslyn and Pentagon stations. Tack on an extra 15 minutes of travel time for the bus trip between Rosslyn and Pentagon. Trains between Largo Town Center and Rosslyn will run every 20 minutes.
Trains on the Red Line will operate a 10 to 20 minute intervals throughout the weekend. Trains on the busier segment between Grosvenor and Silver Spring will run every 10 minutes between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Orange Line trains will run every 20 minutes due to work at Minnesota Ave and Deanwood. All stations will remain open.
Green Line trains will operate every 15 minutes throughout the weekend.
Yellow Line trains will operate every 15 minutes throughout the weekend due to the schedule effects of rebuilding work on the Blue and Green lines.