Snow, sleet and ice can cause devastation on roadways, leaving drivers stranded in some of the most extreme weather conditions. To help commuters prepare for these situations, the National Weather Service will issue “Commutageddon” alerts at the Baltimore/Washington forecast office.
In January 2011, commuters were stuck in gridlock, a dusting of snow made roadways extremely dangerous. The unfortunate drivers dubbed the 2011 event “Commutageddon.” When the temperatures are in the single digits, it will take very little precipitation to cause a massive catastrophe on roadways. When the forecast calls for sleet or heavy snow downfall, people will be more aware of the conditions and risks of driving on the hazardous roadways.
“Small amounts of snow are often caused by tiny ripples in the atmosphere,” Strong explained in a video posted to YouTube. “Twenty-four hours in advance knowing whether that ripple’s going to produce a few flakes and no problems or a small amount of snow with potentially really big impacts is a very small needle for our forecasters to try to thread.”
Meteorologists are oftentimes able to see the threat, when the average person cannot. The new alert will be shared with the public and transportation officials, urging motorists to stay informed, if not to change their travel plans.
Heightened awareness will help motorists prepare for potential winter traffic catastrophes. This new message could possibly reduce motor vehicle accidents and fatalities.