Winter storm headed for Pioneer Valley





Published: 2/12/2019 8:30:43 AM

NORTHAMPTON – A winter storm bringing snow, then sleet, and then freezing rain to the Pioneer Valley is expected to hit around midday, according to the National Weather Service. 

The initial snow will transition to sleet and then mix with freezing rain before ending. Snow and sleet accumulations of 4 to 8 inches and ice accumulations of .01 to .25 inches are expected, NWS said. 

[See a full weather forecast]

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is advising the public to minimize travel as driving conditions could become hazardous as early as 10 a.m. in western Massachusetts. 

“Forecasters are predicting snow, sleet, and freezing rain in the state which will make travel challenging, so we are asking everyone to have a plan which takes the weather into account,”  MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said in a statement. “People who are driving should consult a forecast before heading out, give plenty of space to plows and snow and ice equipment, and consider taking public transportation when possible.”

If it is necessary to drive, MassDOT advises drivers to: 

■Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights, even the hood and roof, before driving (start with the tailpipe).

■Leave plenty of room for stopping.

■Remember that the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.

■Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Brake correctly. It takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.

■Bridge decks freeze first. Due to the difference in the exposure to air, the surface condition can be worse on a bridge than on the approach road.

■Exit ramps are an even greater challenge during the winter since they may have received less anti-icing material than the main line.

■Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows – stay back at least 200 feet and don’t pass on the right.

■Seat belts should be worn at all times – it’s the law.

■Most importantly please remember to slow down.

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

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