Heavy rainstorms Thursday into Friday, followed by plummeting temperatures Friday evening, could lead to “flash freeze” conditions on roadways across much of the northeast, and potentially dangerous commutes into early Saturday ahead of the Christmas holiday, meteorologists warned.
While some areas north and west of New York City may see some snow Thursday evening into Friday, most of the area will likely be hit with pummeling rain and heavy winds, with up to two inches falling over the course of the day.
Temperatures will hover in the mid-to-upper 50s Friday, but freefall down into the teens that evening, shepherding in the lowest temperatures predicted so far this season, as pent up arctic air blows its way across much of the United States.
The heavy rainfall in the New York metro-area, followed by sub-zero temperatures could make it difficult to adequately brine roadways before temperatures drop all across the northeast from Pennsylvania to Connecticut, warned meteorologist Eric Weglarz, with National Weather Forecasting Inc.
“The concern is for a flash freeze on a lot of roadways,” he said, cautioning people to delay their travels until later Saturday morning if possible.
“If you can give plow crews a little bit of time Friday into Saturday I think you can save a lot of headaches,” he said, pointing to a 73-car pile up in Pennsylvania last March under similar conditions.
National Weather Service James Tomasini said it’s still early to ascertain exactly how much rain will fall during Friday’s storm and how it will impact commutes when temperatures drop.
“It really all depends on how much these winds can dry everything out,” he said. “Just really keep an eye on the forecast for the next several days.”
While the extent of the impact to commutes Friday and Saturday is still up in the air, Tomasini said experts are fairly certain the Christmas holiday is shaping up to be one of the coldest in years, with temperatures only climbing into the upper 20s, and no snow in sight.