Northeast Snow and Rainstorm: A Commuter's Nightmare

December 7, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
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This will be the scene over part of the mid-Atlantic and New England for a time Thursday. Be careful and allow extra time. (Douglas Allen/

A storm swinging up from the southern Appalachians will bring a commuter's nightmare to a large part of the Northeast Wednesday night into Thursday.

The fast-moving storm will bring a few hours of heavy snow following Wednesday's rainy weather.

Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski warned, "Heavy rain and poor drainage area flooding will cause their share of travel problems as well."

After 1 to 2 inches of rain falls on the region, for a short time late Wednesday into early Thursday, the snow can fall at the rate of an inch or two per hour in the central and northern Appalachians to part of New England.

Motorists should allow plenty of extra time to get around Thursday morning, even though the storm will be already showing its tail.

Expect flight delays at major and secondary airports due to low visibility and deicing in some cases.

Some schools over the interior mid-Atlantic and New England may be delayed or closed.

The worst commute for the mid-Atlantic will be along the I-81 corridor in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York and I-84 in Pennsylvania and New York Thursday morning. However, other major highways in the region including the I-76, I-80 and I-87 will be a slow-go.

As the snow travels from southwest to northeast across this zone Wednesday night, roads will turn from wet to slushy in the lower elevations to even snow-covered in the mountains.

The I-95 commute in the mid-Atlantic and southern New England Thursday morning will be mostly wet, but slow nonetheless with the weather ranging from rain to mixed rain and snow to all snow.

Road conditions from Richmond to Washington, D.C., will be just wet. In fact, the storm will be over by the bulk of the morning rush. However, anywhere northeast of Washington, D.C., to Boston, Mass., unannounced patches of slush and slippery conditions can occur, especially on bridges and overpasses as rain ends as a period of wet snow in most places.

Roads from northern and western Connecticut and western and central Massachusetts to Maine will go from wet to slushy and even snow covered in a matter of minutes early Thursday morning. This includes I-89, I-90, I-91 and I-95.

Motorists and pedestrians should also be on the lookout for icy patches Thursday evening into Friday morning. Untreated areas that are still wet will become icy as temperatures dip fall below the 32-degree mark.


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