Times-News file photo.
WISE -- The potential for black ice on road surfaces across the region is a concern for Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, a Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) official told the Times-News.
Frigid temperatures are more of a concern for the motoring public than snow accumulations, or at least as of nearly 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, said VDOT Wise Residency Administrator Allan Sumpter. The Wise Residency is responsible for dealing with road conditions in the counties of Lee, Wise, Scott and Dickenson.
"We're seeing some light accumulations throughout the residency. Pretty much our secondary roads are actually (snow) covered at this point. We have crews out on our primary roads, that's our focus right now," Sumpter said.
"Our primaries seem to be wet with a few icy patches. But there's a little bit of concern, with temperatures as low as they are, with black ice."
A light but persistent snow began falling in the Wise area from mid-morning on. Sumpter said the forecast is for the latest winter weather system -- or at least its precipitation effects -- "should be leaving out later today or tonight. But the concern is (overnight Tuesday into Wednesday) icing will occur."
Single digit temperatures early Tuesday barely creeped into the low teens by noon in the Wise area as a broad swath of arctic air took a firm grip over the midwest and eastern sector of the nation, and moved steadily into and across the deep south on Tuesday.
With temperatures well below freezing and expected to be at or near zero degrees overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, drivers need to exercise caution, Sumpter said.
"The temperatures are the big issue when talking about having moisture on the pavement. When temperatures get closer to zero, it makes it more difficult for chemicals to work," he said. "Motorists, particularly during the morning commute Wednesday, need to be watching for black ice because I don't believe there will be enough snow accumulations to present a problem, but black ice can be a big problem."
Sumpter said VDOT crews will be out all night Tuesday into Wednesday.