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Attention GA, TN, SC, NC and VA Novans: (Time Sensitive)
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jdcfsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Florida
 
2009-12-18, 09:44

I'm going to be driving from the Atlanta Airport to Washington DC tomorrow and, according to the weather forecast that region is expecting upwards of a foot of snow.

Looking at the potential directions I've got two options, 1) 85 to 77 to 81 or 2) 85 to 40 to 95. I would love some advice on the best way to go that will be the best plowed / safest and provide the best access to hotels should we have to end up calling it a day and stopping at a hotel.

The second option looks to provide more options to larger cities, but is also upwards of three hours longer than the other route -- but if it's safety over speed I'd rather be safe.

Not being familiar with winter conditions in this area of the country, I'd love any advice that you guys could give me on the way to go and what to look out for. Thanks a million!

90% of statistics can be made to say anything 50% of the time.
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Kickaha
Likes his boobies blue.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hell
 
2009-12-18, 09:47

I95 N into DC can be a NIGHTMARE. I've had the final 30 miles take two hours. Add in snow, and... eek. (Caveat: worst times are obviously rush hours.)

Both routes should be well plowed, I'd check the local snowfall expectations. Personally, I'd suggest the former - you may not find a Holiday Inn Express, but you're likely to find Sue and Bob's Motor Inn.

My other brain is hung like a horse too.
#IRC isn't old school.
Old school is being able to say 'finger me' with a straight face.
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ronmexico
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
 
2009-12-18, 09:58

81 will be a nightmare in the snow. Don't go that way!
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BuonRotto
Not sayin', just sayin'
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2009-12-18, 10:05

85 is usually clearer than 40 in the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area) and has less traffic, though it's only 2 lanes so if anything does happen, you can be sitting. 40 is often a nightmare of crowded, more aggressive traffic but it's usually 3 lanes wide until you clear the area. Saturday traffic won't be too bad, but watch out for idiot drivers who either fear winter weather too much or pay no heed to its dangers.

The 95 corridor in DC is 2 hours of driving around DC *without* weather imposing. 81 is usually the better drive, so avoiding the Triangle and 95 altogether may be your best bet.
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torifile
Less than Stellar Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2009-12-18, 10:20

Dude, just fly. Driving in the SE in the snow is a bitch. Driving in DC any time is a bitch. A combination of those two and you might as well be camping out in your car.

If it's not red and showing substantial musculature, you're wearing it wrong.
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ronmexico
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
 
2009-12-18, 10:57

I drive 81 and 95 around DC fairly frequently. 81 is at a higher elevation and through mountains...snow will be a bigger factor IMO.
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jdcfsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Florida
 
2009-12-18, 10:58

I'm not worried about 95 into DC as it'll be late Saturday night (most likely sometime on Sunday) and we're actually going to a small town about 45 min north west of DC, it's just the easiest marker with regards to planning the trip. I just want to know the safest, and most stress free with regards to weather route. Please keep the suggestions and tips coming.

For this particular trip, flying is not an option Tori.

90% of statistics can be made to say anything 50% of the time.
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Quagmire
meh
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-12-18, 11:40

Then you're doomed as the worst of it will be when you'll be arriving. And our snow removal team is horrible. If 2-3" gets them stressed out to keep the roads safe, imagine what a foot would do.

I remember the 2002 blizzard we had here. I was just coming back from Quebec on a school trip and I woke up in Baltimore on the bus. Even 95 had accumulation on it and made it hell to drive in. Then when I got back home, the roads were even worse people were getting stuck and we were sliding about in our Suburban. It shutdown schools for a week. We got 2 feet then, but 1 ft will still be hell for our area.

giggity
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torifile
Less than Stellar Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2009-12-18, 12:41

Quote:
For this particular trip, flying is not an option Tori.
I figured it would be because you're not crazy. but I had to say it anyway.
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Brave Ulysses
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
 
2009-12-18, 13:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdcfsu View Post
I'm not worried about 95 into DC as it'll be late Saturday night (most likely sometime on Sunday) and we're actually going to a small town about 45 min north west of DC, it's just the easiest marker with regards to planning the trip. I just want to know the safest, and most stress free with regards to weather route. Please keep the suggestions and tips coming.

For this particular trip, flying is not an option Tori.
Sorry, you won't like this, but change your plans. You will not be able to make it. They won't be able to keep up with the snow, even on 95. 45 minutes NW of DC makes it even worse.

1-2 feet of snow is no joke and it is suppose to snow all day and night tomorrow. Not sure how familiar you are driving in snow but to attempt that type of drive through one of the biggest snow storms in this area in a decade is foolish.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-12-18, 14:32

The Weather Channel's site is full of info. I don't think I'd drive through that. It sounds like it's going to be a major event in the area!



More here.

10-20 inches in a one-day period?! Yikes...I don't need to go somewhere that bad.



Still wished I lived up there, though. We'd go get movies and groceries and hunker down. We had a good snow dropping in 1996 (my ex was at Quantico and we lived in the northern Virginia suburbs for a year). The snow was up to my car door handle.

Sounds like this will be a repeat of that.

I wouldn't drive in that mess. I don't think they'll have all the interstates (and certainly surface streets and secondary roads) suitable or safe for driving.
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Kickaha
Likes his boobies blue.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hell
 
2009-12-18, 14:36

We were planning on driving to NC tomorrow. Yeeeeeeeeah...

Then we were looking at leaving tonight about 8pm. 12 hrs down, puts into Raleigh after they've had 4-6 hrs of freezing rain.

Right.

Give DC Monday to dig out, and most of the ohgodgottagettherenow folks to hit the road, and...

Tuesday it is.

My other brain is hung like a horse too.
#IRC isn't old school.
Old school is being able to say 'finger me' with a straight face.
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jdcfsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Florida
 
2009-12-18, 14:36

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brave Ulysses View Post
Sorry, you won't like this, but change your plans.
It's starting to look like that might be the best option. CNN keeps making it sound worse every time they cover the weather. Still looking at options, but driving north might be out of the question...

90% of statistics can be made to say anything 50% of the time.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-12-18, 14:42

Well, that's CNN. They'd make Groundhog's Day crisis.

But it's being covered everywhere, with varying levels of theatrics and hysteria (and some sober, serious reporting as well). Err on the side of "not a chance" and you'll be okay. Listen to Kickaha.

I think it's gonna be ugly.

And it won't just be the snow and weather. It'll be the tons of people out there who think they can do it, and they'll be sliding and blowing all over the place, causing wrecks and snags left and right. I'd had to be a cop or EMT worker up there this weekend. It'll be non-stop calls, I bet.



I don't know any safe, reliable ways up there. I would imagine bus travel will be just as bad as driving yourself (maybe even more dangerous). And who knows how air traffic and airports (Dulles, Reagan and BWI) will be affected by this. Trains? Is that an option? I don't know.
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drewprops
Bastard
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2009-12-18, 20:29

I had to drive 80+ miles through monsoon conditions around Atlanta today and the traffic around Atlanta was unspeakable. If that had been snow there would have been acts of cannibalism before now. I can't imagine driving to DC from ATL in this weather... especially tracking up toward the mountains where there WILL be snow. :/


..

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jdcfsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Florida
 
2009-12-18, 21:30

Thanks for all your help and insight guys. We're not going to make it to DC this Christmas and decided to divert back down here to Florida for the week. Would have been nice to get up there as planned, but it's better to be safe and alive.

Thanks again guys, I really appriciate the advice.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-12-18, 21:33

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewprops View Post
I had to drive 80+ miles through monsoon conditions around Atlanta today and the traffic around Atlanta was unspeakable. If that had been snow there would have been acts of cannibalism before now.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-12-18, 21:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdcfsu View Post
Thanks for all your help and insight guys. We're not going to make it to DC this Christmas and decided to divert back down here to Florida for the week. Would have been nice to get up there as planned, but it's better to be safe and alive.

Thanks again guys, I really appriciate the advice.
Is there no way you could go next week, early or mid-week? Maybe it won't be so bad and some of this will have melted away? Or was this your sole window of opportunity (for whatever reason)?

Florida's nice too. You won't freeze to death, at least.

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jdcfsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Florida
 
2009-12-18, 21:45

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
Is there no way you could go next week, early or mid-week? Maybe it won't be so bad and some of this will have melted away? Or was this your sole window of opportunity (for whatever reason)?
Unfortunately no due to work schedules and the amount of free time available. But we're going to make the most of it and enjoy Christmas with my family instead.

Quote:
Florida's nice too. You won't freeze to death, at least.
Nope. The "cold front" blew through this afternoon and I'm sitting here with my windows open and a nice breeze in the low 60s blowing through.

90% of statistics can be made to say anything 50% of the time.
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billybobsky
BANNED
I am worthless beyond hope.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Inner Swabia. If you have to ask twice, don't.
 
2009-12-18, 22:12

95. if you look at the map it is the one highway that gets you closest with driving under the snow for the least amount of time.

Good luck.
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billybobsky
BANNED
I am worthless beyond hope.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Inner Swabia. If you have to ask twice, don't.
 
2009-12-18, 22:15

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brave Ulysses View Post
Sorry, you won't like this, but change your plans. You will not be able to make it. They won't be able to keep up with the snow, even on 95. 45 minutes NW of DC makes it even worse.
That's not true. I have driven the same route that jdcfsu under worst snow conditions and had no problem. the key is avoiding the people who don't know how to drive in the snow. they're the ones recklessly braking and accelerating.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2009-12-19, 00:18

Sorry to be so late to the party but it sounds like you're already going to do what I was going to suggest; stay home or at least south.

I was actually looking forward to the "blizzard" our local news guys called for. Sadly, I'm looking out my window at rain. I miss DC snow when I didn't have to head to work. Oh and there was this hill that was awesome for sledding down too!

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Brave Ulysses
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
 
2009-12-19, 01:38

Quote:
Originally Posted by billybobsky View Post
That's not true. I have driven the same route that jdcfsu under worst snow conditions and had no problem. the key is avoiding the people who don't know how to drive in the snow. they're the ones recklessly braking and accelerating.
"Worst" (sic) snow conditions really is debatable.... hard to be worse than near blizzard conditions, unless you are driving in an actual blizzard. None the less I don't see how you could possibly suggest doing a drive of that distance in those conditions would be a wise decision, no matter how seasoned a driver you are. You are not going to be able to avoid the guy who isn't. And it doesn't take much.

I'd say the worse thing you could do in a snowstorm is be overconfident....
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-12-19, 03:31

...or let a pregnant teenager drive.








ducks
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torifile
Less than Stellar Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2009-12-19, 06:53

Well this storm has been a dud for us. Just rain mostly. I fucking hate weathermen - they have to be the biggest killjoys on the planet. At least in NC they are wrong like 85% of the time when it comes to actual winter weather.
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drewprops
Bastard
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2009-12-19, 10:29

Yes, the Atlanta weatherfolk have been baiting the locals with potential "Christmas Snow". Some have actually bought into the forecast while others have bought into the dream of the forecast.


...
  quote
pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2009-12-19, 10:48

The forecasts were right for the DC area, though. They got it pretty good. But, yeah...around here I just take whatever they say on local TV and assume the opposite.



"It's going to snow!" = 68 and sunny
"Prepare for unseasonably warm December temps." = Ice and slush up to my ankles

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billybobsky
BANNED
I am worthless beyond hope.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Inner Swabia. If you have to ask twice, don't.
 
2009-12-19, 10:50

They underestimated the amount of snow in the Philly region...
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billybobsky
BANNED
I am worthless beyond hope.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Inner Swabia. If you have to ask twice, don't.
 
2009-12-19, 11:03

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brave Ulysses View Post
"Worst" (sic) snow conditions really is debatable.... hard to be worse than near blizzard conditions, unless you are driving in an actual blizzard. None the less I don't see how you could possibly suggest doing a drive of that distance in those conditions would be a wise decision, no matter how seasoned a driver you are. You are not going to be able to avoid the guy who isn't. And it doesn't take much.

I'd say the worse thing you could do in a snowstorm is be overconfident....
You're right, if you can avoid driving in a snow storm that's the safest option. But it can be done, if you are careful.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2009-12-19, 12:02

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
...or let a pregnant teenager drive.








ducks


Seriously!! I'm loving your sense of humor. Right on Paul!

All rain here in Tidewater too. Shame really. I was hoping we'd at least get some white stuff.

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MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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