Black ice, fog could impact morning commute - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Black ice, fog could impact morning commute

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A wintry mix caused problems on the roads throughout Connecticut when the first winter storm of the season hit the state on Tuesday morning.

A winter weather advisory went into effect at 7 p.m. on Monday and lasted through mid-day on Tuesday.

Chief Meteorologist Bruce DePrest said snow and ice accumulations ranged from a coating to 2 inches across the state.

The roadways were slippery from being pelted with snow, sleet and freezing rain. Crashes were reported on Interstate 91 and Interstate 95.

Emergency officials in Tolland reported a rollover after 7 a.m. on Interstate 84 westbound. No injuries were reported, but they said the highway was a mess due to the weather.

In all, state police said they responded to 54 crashes since midnight. They sought to remind drivers to take it slow, maintain a safe following distance and avoid distractions.

"Couldn’t be any worse," said Ken Lacas, a plow driver. "[There are] icy conditions [and it's] rainy, wet. Not good for a first storm."

Plow drivers said it took most of the morning for them and the salt spreaders to catch up. 

Still, AAA said it responded to pull a number of vehicles that had slid off the road.

Drivers were advised to budget extra time when heading out on the roads. Visibility was down to a mile or so because of the wintry mix. 

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Sleet was the story for most of the state.

Precipitation was steady throughout the morning hours and tapered off to showers and drizzle as the afternoon went on.

For areas southeast of I-84, it was rain. However, northwest of the highway there was the possibility of freezing rain.

"There won’t be any heavy precipitation, just some drizzle and freezing drizzle.  However, it doesn’t take much to make surfaces slick," DePrest said.

Drizzle will likely end on Tuesday night, but refreezing and black ice is a concern. There may also be areas of fog as well. If there is partial clearing, black ice and fog could be a more widespread problem.

Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks told travelers that it was operating normally, but there were canceled departures and delayed departures during the day.

As towns and residents throughout the state prepared for the wicked weather, AAA told Eyewitness News that checking car batteries with auto parts stores or mechanic is a vital first step for winter preparations. The same idea goes for making sure wiper blades work evenly. 

"As temperatures fall below freezing, it takes a battery one and a half times as much power to start a car," said Amy Parmenter, AAA spokesperson. "Batteries that worked fine last week may not work at all this week." 

Wednesday may feature some sunshine, but overall it will be a cloudy day with temperatures in the upper 30s to middle 40s.

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