More Severe Winter Weather Puts Eastern US on Alertby Jana Ritter - Published: 1/21/2014
After surviving the freezing temperature of the recent “Polar Vortex”, a snow storm has already hit the mid-Atlantic and Northeast states with blinding conditions and the potential for more than a foot of snow. On Tuesday it was already enough to ground thousands of flights, shut down the nation's capital and close schools and businesses across the east.
While the storm stretched 1,000 miles between Kentucky and Massachusetts, the heavily populated area along Interstate 95 between Philadelphia and Boston, is expected to be hit the hardest and create a perilous extremely dangerous driving conditions for millions of motorists. Pennsylvania's Transportation Department said it had already ate up more than half of its $189 million winter weather budget. "Lots of nuisance storms this season have meant that PennDOT crews have been plowing and treating roads more frequently this winter," spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt said. Unfortunately, the storm is expected to bring 10 to 14 inches of snow to Philadelphia and southern New England and up to a foot in New York City. The storm has even cancelled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's inauguration and the highly anticipated evening party on Ellis Island.
State officials in Maryland are urging big rigs to stay off the state highways and warning anyone else on the roads needs to give snowplows a wide enough distance to safely clear the roads. The Highway Administration is worried about the hazardous road conditions and they will have crews working to keep roads passable primarily for emergency vehicles, the agency says in a news release. “Please heed the warnings to stay off the roads this afternoon – it will not be safe to be out later today in heavy, blowing snow with frigid temperatures,” cautioned SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters in the advisory. “SHA crews will continue to plow and battle Mother Nature; however, it will take four to six hours to reach bare pavement after precipitation stops, which isn’t predicted to happen until late tonight.”
Again, truck drivers are specifically advised to stay off the highways and find emergency parking at park and ride locations. Those locations can be found on SHA’s website at www.roads.maryland.gov under the “emergency truck parking” icon.
The temperatures are expected to drastically fall Tuesday afternoon and cause more possible problems with road icing. Winds will also become gusty, especially along and southeast of the I-95 corridor and will increase up to 35-45 mph by Wednesday afternoon. Other areas should expect wind in the 20-30 mph range, but it will be enough to cause some blowing and drifting snow, reducing visibility. Anyone on the roads should sue low beam headlights and drive slow.