‘Wintry mix’ expected Thursday night

Published 11:41 pm Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The first snow of winter is expected Thursday night as a low moving off the coast allows colder air to move into the area.

Rain is expected throughout Thursday, but it is expected to change to snow around 1 a.m. and continue to 4 a.m.

“There’s a pretty strong low that’s going to develop to our south tonight,” said meteorologist John Billet of the National Weather Service office in Wakefield. That low will move into North Carolina and off the coast and allow colder air to come down, turning the rain to snow.

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“We may get an inch or so of accumulation,” Billet said, cautioning that the precipitation likely will cause slush and ice on the roads.

The snow will come with winds up to 17 miles per hour.

Friday is expected to be sunny, with a high near 40 and winds up to 10 miles per hour.

AAA Tidewater Virginia cautioned drivers to use caution when driving in winter weather.

“When driving on snow-covered or icy roads, motorists often make the mistake of being overconfident due to the fact that some roadways are clear,” said Georjeane Blumling, vice president of public affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “This leads to travel at higher than recommended speed when the same driver hits a patch of ice, and the results can be devastating.”

AAA and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles ask drivers to heed the following tips:

  • Buckle up — no matter the weather.
  • Carry a winter weather driving kit: blanket, ice scraper, flares or reflective triangles, flashlights and extra batteries, jumper cables, a bag of abrasive material such as cat litter, shovel, cloth or paper towels and a cell phone with a full charge.
  • Remove all snow and ice from your vehicle before beginning to drive. If you don’t, it could fall into the path of another vehicle.
  • If you start to skid, stay off the brakes and accelerator and don’t shift gears. Look and steer in the direction you want the car to go. Once out of the skid, move the car to a safe spot and calm down before resuming your trip.
  • Clear all windows and outside mirrors completely, turn headlights to low beam (even in daylight) and search for hazards farther down the road.
  • Leave at least six to eight seconds of following distance behind the vehicle in front of you. Leave an “out” to one side of your vehicle.
  • Accelerate, brake and steer slowly and smoothly. In vehicles without antilock brakes, do not pump the brakes. Keep steady pressure unless the wheels lock, then ease up on the pedal just enough to regain traction. In vehicles with antilock brake systems, keep pressing the pedal firmly and steadily. The system should handle the rest.
  • Drive in cleared lanes, and do not make unnecessary lane changes. Doing so puts you at greater risk of hitting a patch of ice between lanes.
  • Beware of bridges and overpasses, which freeze faster than other road surfaces.
  • Do not use cruise control.