Freezing Light Rain Could Cause Problems for Morning Commuters

Posted January 21, 2008 6:33 p.m. EST
Updated January 22, 2008 12:01 a.m. EST

— There is a slight chance for freezing rain Tuesday morning, and that could leave Triangle roads and bridges slicked with ice.

"We have a small chance of some difficulty tomorrow morning, but we feel like we have to mention it because all it takes is one icy patch or two to cause problems,” WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

Ground temperatures are considerably colder than Saturday night, when parts of the state saw some snowfall. The colder-than-average temperatures of recent days could cause hazardous driving conditions early Tuesday.

If the anticipated light rain happens early enough, as temperatures dip below freezing, the precipitation could accumulate in icy patches.

Whether the Triangle sees mostly rain or freezing depends on timing, WRAL Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. If the moisture arrives closer to 6 a.m., the precipitation will be frozen. If the moisture materializes closer to 10 a.m., warmer temperatures will keep it liquid.

"Most likely what that is going to be is freezing rain, unfortunately," Gardner said. "The main problem it is most likely to cause for tomorrow morning is some slick spots on the road.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Advisory Monday afternoon for several counties in Central and Western North Carolina, including the Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point.

Monday's high temperature was 37 degrees. Temps for this time of the year are usually around 50 degrees. The low temperature was 15 degrees, which was 14 degrees below normal.

Skies will clear Monday night, then cloud up in the early hours of  Tuesday. Temperatures early Tuesday are expect to be in the 20s, rising into the 30s during the day.

On Dec. 7, 2007, wet snow, flurries and freezing rain put a light glaze on bridges and highways throughout the Triangle. That was enough to cause one fatality and dozens of wrecks and shut down portions of Interstates 40 and 85; U.S. Highways 1, 70 and 401; and Falls of the Neuse Road – slowing the commute to crawl.

Another shot of cold weather is expect late Thursday, with temperatures in the mid-20s and then dropping down to around 15 degrees on Friday.