Watch Out for Noah After Santa Leaves

Add fog to the list of weather hindrances to Christmas Day. Christmas morning was icy in some places, and the region is threatened by flooding.

The National Weather Service extended its flood watch through 6 a.m. Saturday. It went into effect 3 p.m. Friday afternoon.

Now a dense fog advisory is in effect until 1 a.m.

Low pressure west of D.C. brought wet weather to the region Friday. That meant freezing rain and icy conditions in the morning for some areas.

AAA Mid-Atlantic representative John Townsend warned that people traveling south through Virginia Christmas Day were likely to run into an ice storm. He advised avoiding early morning travel.

Sleet and freezing rain led to many crashes on interstates 70 and 68 Friday morning, according to Maryland State Police. They closed a portion of I-70 to allow treatment of the roadway.

And with winter storms affecting much of the country -- particularly in the Midwest -- many people trying to fly Thursday and Friday have found themselves delayed by weather at their destinations.

Through Friday night, an inch of rain could fall. Combined with melting snow, that could mean flooding of urban areas, small streams, low lying areas and areas with poor drainage.

People who live in flood-prone areas should be prepared, monitor forecasts and watch for flood warnings.

The wet weather should pass by midday Saturday, NBC4 meteorologist Veronica Johnson predicted. High temperatures reached the mid-40s Friday and are expected to be in the 46-to-50 degree range Saturday.

In Maryland, public works officials have been urging residents to clear snow from flat roofs and make sure storm drains are clear of debris in anticipation of possible heavy rains.

Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold told residents that accumulated snow and heavy rains could cause roofs to collapse. Baltimore public workers director David Scott asked residents to clear storm drains in the their neighborhoods to prevent flooding in streets and basements.

DDOT and the District Department of Public of Works are getting ready for the Christmas soaker.

“As we are beginning to see a better chance of the system come into the District, we want to prepare people who will be traveling for the holiday,” said DPW Director William O. Howland Jr. on Wednesday. “Ice is significantly different than snow and roadway conditions will be uncertain. If at all possible, people should stay at home and travel later in the day or leave earlier.”

D.C.’s snow team planned to be ready for a full deployment beginning at 3 a.m. through early afternoon Friday, when temperatures should be above freezing.

“We are encouraging drivers to plan ahead, drive with caution, and please, please allow for ample time to reach destinations,” said DDOT Director Gabe Klein. “If at all possible, take transit as an alternative to driving.”

Pre-treatment of bridges, overpasses and elevated structures was planned, and residents and businesses were asked again to keep their sidewalks, sidewalk entrances, catch basin opening and nearby hydrants clear.

Sidewalks still covered with the weekend’s snow will be particularly dangerous, so get out your sand and salt.

And assist your elderly and disabled neighbors.

DDOT and DPW offer the following advice:

  • Please take Metro as an alternative to driving
  • Listen to media reports for weather updates
  • Remember that driving on ice is significantly different than driving on snow. Even a 4-wheel drive SUV does not perform well in ice and additional safety measures should be followed.
  • Drivers should use extreme caution and maintain safe speeds and distances from other vehicles.
  • Be aware of road conditions, particularly black ice which can be deceptive in its appearance giving the driver a false sense of security on the road.
  • Remember to keep a safe distance from emergency and snow vehicles during any major winter weather event.
  • Variable Message Signs placed strategically along local highways and corridors will remind motorists that “Bridges Freeze before Roadways” and/or “Caution – Icy Conditions” in an effort to further remind drivers to go slowly and be wary of icy conditions including black ice in the roadway. Black ice is transparent ice located on the roadway making it very difficult to detect and becoming a major hazard to motorists.
  • Please remain alert, do not drive distracted and be aware of surrounding conditions including other vehicles and pedestrians.

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