Watch out Monday: Freezing rain means a slippery afternoon drive
TRENTON — It will be a slick and slippery ride home for New Jersey commuters, with yet another round of wintry weather.
A weak storm system will push into the Garden State Monday afternoon, with light showers spreading from west to east through Monday evening. Two straight weeks of temperatures below freezing means every outdoor surface is frozen, creating ideal circumstances for freezing rain.
"Ice storms (freezing rain events) are one of the worst kinds of weather, in my opinion," Townsquare Media Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said. "Light snow would be manageable, as you'd get some traction. On the other hand, the worst-case scenario for Monday afternoon is freezing rain. That's when liquid rain droplets fall through above-freezing air, hit a cold below-freezing surface (like a roadway, a sidewalk, your car, etc.) and immediately freeze into ice.
"Even a trace of ice accretion (accumulation) is enough to make for incredibly slippery and treacherous driving conditions"
Some school districts dismissed classes early on Monday afternoon to get students home ahead of the storm.
"It will definitely be a very challenging commute home this afternoon. ... We expect very icy, slick, treacherous driving conditions this afternoon," New Jersey Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Schapiro said.
Enough salt and sand remains on the roads that no pre-treatment will be necessary, he said. Crews will be ready for what is being considered a spreading event to keep the roads clear, he said.
Schapiro said the icy conditions make it important to be patient behind the wheel and leave extra space between other cars.
NJ Transit, which canceled 15 trains during Monday morning's commute because of the cold, could have additional issues if rails and overhead wires ice up. Two jet-engine-powered snow blowers are available for NJ Transit to remove ice and snow from tracks and critical switching areas.
Newark Liberty International Airport had two-hour delays on arrivals, according to FlightAware.com, with 55 flights heading to Newark canceled. 56 departures are also canceled.