Updated: Tuesday, Nov. 26 5:02 p.m.
Posted: Monday, Nov. 25 10:02 p.m.
WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — The National Weather Service is advising rush-hour travelers in the Washington area to beware of icy roads in areas north and west of the city Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
Forecasters say pockets of freezing rain will persist through the evening Tuesday before changing over to all rain across most of the state.
Meteorologist Howard Bernstein expects the system to “definitely impact Thanksgiving travel.”
“That same storm system that got the southwest, that got Texas and Oklahoma, that’s moving east and it’s going to pack a lot of rain with it and some wintry weather,” he says.
Tuesday evening rain is expected to turn into snow Wednesday morning, but it will turn back to rain once the temperature rises to Wednesday’s high of 44. Heavy rainfall could lead to localized flooding.
“That rain could be heavy at times as we get into Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday night,” Bernstein says. “Tuesday to me looks like it’s going to be the worst day with the heaviest rain but that doesn’t mean we won’t have problems Wednesday.”
Precipitation totals for the storm could exceed two inches.
“The timing of the storm couldn’t be worse,” said Chris Vaccaro, spokesman for the weather service headquarters in Silver Spring. “We are seeing numerous threats as the storm is beginning to develop and intensify.”
Thanksgiving Day should be free of precipitation but it will be windy and cold, according to Bernstein.
This holiday will likely see the most air travelers since 2007, according to Airlines for America, the industry’s trade and lobbying group, with the busiest day being Sunday, an estimated 2.56 million passengers. Wednesday is expected to be the second-busiest with 2.42 million passengers.
Officials say Reagan National Airport is seeing some delays in flights to the Northeast. No problems are reported at either Dulles International or Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall.
Ninety percent of travelers this week will drive, according to AAA, and an estimated 38.9 million people — 1.6 percent fewer than last year — are expected to drive 50 miles or more from their home.
The weather service says the mountains of far western Maryland will see snow after midnight. Accumulations could range from a couple of inches in Cumberland to 9 inches in Garrett County by Thanksgiving.
The Wisp ski resort in McHenry says the snow will enable it to open for the season on Friday.
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