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New Warning Elevates Winter Storm Threat in Prince William, Greater Manassas

By Potomac Local News December 7, 2013 11:35 pm

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Slushy sidewalks and streets were left behind in Old Town Manassas after a winter ice storm moved across Northern Virginia on Dec. 9, 2013. [Photo: Daniel Foose]

Slushy sidewalks and streets were left behind in Old Town Manassas after a winter ice storm moved across Northern Virginia on Dec. 9, 2013. [Photo: Daniel Foose]

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – The risk of winter weather has increased for Prince William County ahead of Sunday’s winter storm.

The county, as well as Manassas and Manassas Park, is now under a winter storm warning and could see up to 3 inches of snow and sleet Sunday morning before the precipitation falling from the skies changes to freezing rain Sunday afternoon. Then, it’s expected up to a quarter inch of ice will accumulate on surfaces, bringing with it treacherous driving conditions and the possibility of power outages.

Our earlier report notes whom to call in the event of a power outage, and officials urge that you have those numbers handy in case the lights go out.

The winter storm warning is in effect from 8 a.m. Sunday to 10 a.m. Monday, and it replaces the winter storm watch that had been issued for Prince William. A winter storm watch remains in effect for Stafford County.

Road crews have been out for much of the day pre-treating roads before the storm hits. Here’s more in a press release from the Virginia Department of Transportation:

Through the day, crews have treated interstates and primary roads with salt brine or anti-icing chemicals in the Staunton, Salem, Northern Virginia and Culpeper regions. Anti-icing helps to prevent snow and ice from sticking to the roads. Crews will continue to work through the weekend and into the week treating and clearing roads. VDOT has also coordinated with utility companies to prepare for possible power outages should downed tree branches and other debris hit power lines.

A statewide network of 77 weather sensors in roadways and bridges, plus 16 mobile video data platforms, allows crews to quickly identify when and where road surfaces might be freezing.

Crews first begin clearing roads with the highest traffic volumes – interstates and primary roads and then major secondary roads followed by subdivision streets.

VDOT has activated a web-based neighborhood tracking map that monitors the status of plowing in northern Virginia neighborhoods when it snows two inches or more. Available at vdotplows.org, VDOT will be testing the tracker concept in other parts of the state this year to determine which regions are best suited for the wireless technology required for the system.

While VDOT is in full preparation mode, motorists are urged to make sure their vehicles are in proper driving condition for winter weather and have emergency kits. During the storm, motorists should avoid driving on the roads. About 70 percent of deaths related to ice and snow occur in automobiles.

Winter weather driving tips and other preparations:

• Monitor your local news sources for the latest weather conditions

• Avoid driving during the storm

• Prepare your car for winter driving conditions, including having an emergency kit in your car

• Prepare your home for winter weather conditions in case of power outages

• Before getting behind the wheel, call 511, go to 511virginia.org or download the 511 mobile app to get the latest road condition information

• You can also call 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) to report road hazards or ask road-related questions at VDOT’s 24-hour Customer Service Center

• When driving, give yourself extra time to reach your destination, leave plenty of driving room between you and the vehicle ahead and slow down

• Access a video showing how to drive on ice and snow covered roads 

• Pay extra attention to bridges, overpasses and shady areas, which freeze first and can become very slick