Storm to spread quick shot of ice, rain across eastern US this weekend
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
November 24, 2018, 2:30:02 PM EST
Following a frigid end to the week, temperatures will not rise fast enough for the next storm to bring plain rain to all the northeastern United States this weekend.
Just enough cold air will remain at the lower levels of the atmosphere for pockets of ice to form, especially in the Appalachians and Piedmont locations from North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia to Pennsylvania on Saturday and northern New England and northern New York state on Saturday night to Sunday.
"With temperatures near the freezing mark people living in or traveling through the interior Northeast should expect areas of freezing rain and sleet with this storm," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Eric Leister.
"Even a thin glaze of ice can cause very dangerous conditions on roads, sidewalks and runways," Leister said.
The thin layer of ice is sometimes referred to as black ice or clear ice.
During Friday night, rain and spotty ice spread across Ohio, West Virginia and western Virginia. Ice was heavy enough to bring down trees and power lines in parts of western North Carolina. Rain fell farther to the south and west.
During Saturday, motorists should be extra careful along Interstate-70, I-76, I-77, I-80 I-81 and I-99 in the mountain and valley regime from western Virginia to Pennsylvania.
It appears as though the atmosphere may have enough time to warm up to allow plain rain on most surfaces along the coastal I-95 corridor and the portions of I-77 west of the Appalachians. However, caution on bridges and in areas that do not receive direct sunlight are advised throughout the Northeast as the storm begins and continues.
A few of the counties in central Pennsylvania may remain at or below freezing until the storm departs Saturday evening. In this case, only several treatments of ice melting compounds may keep roads and sidewalks from being slippery.
Even where plain rain is occurring, the chilly air and downpours will make for a miserable drive and for those attending area high school and college football games.
The rain will end from west to east on Saturday across the South. However, enough rain may fall to cause flooding in poor drainage areas for a time on Saturday from the Carolinas to West Virginia and Virginia. Showers and thunderstorms will progress across the Florida Peninsula.
From Saturday night to Sunday, coastal rain and interior ice will spread across New England. However, both may become very spotty in nature. There may also be some snow mixed in across the northern tier.
"It is possible that part of the northern Connecticut River Valley and interior Maine stay below freezing for the duration of the storm into Sunday afternoon, which will lead to prolonged travel problems on northern parts of I-91 and I-93," according to AccuWeather Senior Storm Warning Meteorologist Rich Putnam.
Download the free AccuWeather app to see specifically where rain and ice might affect your travels and football game plans this weekend.
Across the central Appalachians and much of the mid-Atlantic, rain and any pockets of ice are likely to diminish from Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning.
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As a result, travel conditions are expected to substantially improve from southwest to northeast across the region for the journey home on Sunday.
However, enough plain rain can fall at a fast enough pace for several hours in the mid-Atlantic and in southeastern New England to cause minor flooding in poor drainage areas and force motorists to slow down on the highways.
It may be best to get an early start on Sunday as traffic is likely to build on area highways as the day progresses, according to Travel and Leisure. By early, the website advises getting started around 6 a.m.
With the exception of parts of New England, roads should be dry or become dry during Sunday morning.
The busy weather pattern is forecast to continue for the week ahead.
A storm poised to disrupt travel with snow from the Rockies to blizzard conditions over parts the Plains and Midwest this weekend will eventually reach the East.
Spotty rain is likely to break out across the I-77, I-81 and I-85 corridors during Sunday night.
Since that new storm will have less cold air to work with at the onset, most areas across the Northeast may begin with rain during later Sunday night and Monday.
However, as the storm progresses and cold air invades, a change to snow may take place over the higher elevations and northern areas of the Northeast.
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