(DC News Now) — With many in the DMV traveling for the holiday or expecting loved ones visiting to celebrate, getting to or from your destination could be dangerous.
Some travelers are ready to hit the roads, but state officials say it’s better to wait out the storm.
Charlie Gischlar, a spokesperson for Maryland State Highway Administration warned, “We do urge you to delay travel tomorrow morning into the afternoon”
The latest winter weather system has arrived just in time for the holidays and while it could put a damper on some travel plans, others say it’s just another storm.
“I grew up around here so snow is just another part of living around here,” Silver Spring, Md. resident David R. explained while pumping gas. “I would like to go see my sister and her husband and niece and nephew, but if it’s too bad out there, no I’m staying in the house.”
Maryland highway administration is taking a more cautious approach to the changing storm system. MDOT SHA spokesperson Charlie Gischlar described the storm system as a “one-two punch” as the snow has already affected the western part of the state and now the rain is affecting the central and eastern parts. He said SHA was proactive and was able to pretreat the western counties of the state.
Now the focus is watching the storm as it moves through the central and eastern parts of the state.
“This storm is gonna produce some pretty heavy rains too. Some of our maintenance folks are here to make sure that all the drainage is opening,” Gischlar explained. “Compromised drainage systems or slow drainage systems can lead to ponding of water.”
The DC News Now weather team has been warning about the risk of flash freezing after the rain stops. This is causing crews to be on standby to navigate the tricky conditions on the roads.
“Out of an abundance of caution we will start to treat those roads, particularly the elevated roadways like bridges, ramps, and overpasses which freeze first,” Gischlar explained.
Officials are warning people to stay off of the roads until the weekend and some are following recommendations to ride out the storm. DC resident Sheara Jemison will be one of those heeding the warning of officials. She and her family have decided to meet virtually and mail their gifts to each other instead of gathering altogether.
“The snow that’s coming in is definitely going to impact me going to see friends or family members locally that are in the area so I don’t plan on doing that if the snow’s here,” Jemison said.
One resident said he’s less worried about the incoming storm but more so if it will prevent relatives from coming into DC.
“I’m most worried about it turning into ice. I’m not worried about snow,” Karsten Grabowski, who is hosting his mother-in-law for the holidays, said. “We’re worried about flights being cancelled or delayed because of weather. She’s coming from Minnesota here to DC.”
Some are still planning to brave the roads for the holidays, but one driver says she’ll wait out the winter weather. Michelle Wojciechowicz is planning to drive to Philadelphia for the holiday but isn’t in any rush to get out of the District.
“We’re leaving Saturday morning to avoid the rush,” Wojciechowicz said. “I mean there’ll be more traffic on Friday so figure avoid the storm, avoid the traffic.”