Frigid temps expected

Published 10:51 pm Friday, January 18, 2019

Extremely cold temperatures and black ice are a danger for Sunday afternoon throughout Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

“This is certainly our coldest air of the season,” said National Weather Service Wakefield meteorologist Mike Montefusco. “Be ready for sharply colder temperatures.”

The somewhat mild weather Saturday and early Sunday will only increase the pain. Saturday’s high was expected to be 52, with a high of 57 on Sunday before a precipitous drop begins in the afternoon.

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“We are looking for a very strong cold front to cross through our region during the day on Sunday. It’s associated with an area of low pressure that will be moving across the eastern part of the country.

“We are looking for temperatures to fall pretty quickly Sunday afternoon into Sunday evening,” Montefusco added.

Overnight air temperatures will be in the teens to right around 20, he said. The wind chill is expected to be about 5 to 10 degrees. On Monday, the high temperature for Suffolk and Western Tidewater will be about 30, Montefusco said.

The cold front will bring with it precipitation, mostly as rain, and that presents the very real danger of black ice on Sunday night and Monday morning.

“The main issue for Monday morning will be if there are any areas of some wet roadways, we are looking for the potential for some very quick freezing,” Montefusco said.

Harry Cross of Cross Realty warned that folks should drip their faucets to prevent frozen pipes.

“Just a small drip usually works, and do it in all your bathrooms and any sink that is adjacent to an outside wall,” Cross posted on his Facebook page. “You should also open the sink cabinet doors to allow more heat to the pipes. Make sure all outside garden hoses are removed from faucets.”

AAA Tidewater on Friday advised local motorists to watch out for black ice on Sunday night and Monday.

“Over-confidence on icy roads can be both dangerous and deadly,” said Georjeane Blumling, vice president of public affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “Ice is slippery no matter how good your tires are and even with four-wheel drive. The key to safety is to adapt to conditions.”

AAA provided the following tips:

  • Watch for black ice. Although it is mostly invisible, pavement with black ice will be a little darker and duller than the rest of the road surface. It commonly forms on highly shaded areas, infrequently traveled roads, and on bridges and overpasses.
  • Use extra caution on bridges and overpasses. Bridges and overpasses freeze first and melt last. Therefore, use extra caution as the roadway leading up to the bridge may appear fine but the bridge itself could be a sheet of ice.
  • Travel gently. Drive, turn and brake slowly. Adjust your speed to the road conditions and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  • Be extra aware of the traffic ahead. If you see brake lights, fish tailing cars, sideways cars or emergency flashers, slow down even more.
  • Control the skid. If you are approaching a patch of ice, brake during your approach. Applying pressure to your brakes while on ice will only throw you into a skid. In the event you find your car is skidding, ease off of the accelerator or brake, and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.
  • Never use cruise control. Cruise control is not recommended when ice is on the road, as the driver should be in full control of the vehicle at every second.
  • Avoid unnecessary lane changes. Changing lanes unnecessarily puts you at greater risk of hitting a patch of ice between lanes that may cause you to lose control of the vehicle.

Animals are also in danger during colder weather. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals urged dog owners to bring their animals inside. The organization also urged people who saw animals outside without shelter to call authorities or to call PETA at 622-7382. The organization also offers free straw for use as doghouse bedding at its headquarters at 501 Front St. in Norfolk.

“PETA encourages everyone to keep their dogs and other animal companions indoors — especially at this time of year,” a press release from the group stated.