Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Loudoun County Under a Winter Storm Warning; Be Careful on Roads

According to Loudoun County Weather, Loudoun County remains under a winter storm warning until noon tomorrow. And the forecast calls for snow the rest of the day, possibly mixing with sleet later this morning and afternoon. Snow and sleet accumulation of 1 to 3 inches. Highs in the lower 30s. Northeast winds around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation near 100 percent.

Tonight...Snow and sleet in the evening...Then freezing rain and sleet after midnight. Additional snow and sleet accumulation of 1 to 3 inches. Total snow accumulation 3 to 4 inches. Ice accumulation of a tenth to two tenths of an inch. Lows in the upper 20s. East winds around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation near 100 percent.

If you don't have to drive anywhere today, please stay home. Telework if possible, or just take a day off and play in the snow with the kids since Loudoun County Schools are closed today. But if you must drive, AAA offers these tips for driving in the snow:
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Appling the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for retraining traction and avoiding skids. Don't try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning - nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of two to three seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety in front will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don't stop if you can avoid it. There's a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until the light changes, do it.
  • Don't power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
  • Don't stop going up a hill. There's nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
  • Stay home. If you really don't have to go out, don't. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don't tempt fate: If you don't have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

Let's all have a safe snow day!

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