Icy rain creates dangerous travel conditions for motorists

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Freezing rain is creating dangerous driving conditions for Southern New Englanders Saturday morning as many hit the road to their holiday destinations or head out for some last-minute shopping.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect through noon Saturday for northern Rhode Island.

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The City of Providence announced Saturday morning that all city recreation centers would be closed because of winter conditions.

Police in Attleboro reported that two of their police cars were damaged while on the roads Saturday morning responding to calls:

The icy conditions worsen further north towards Boston. Saturday morning, the Massachusetts State Police reported that a portion of I-95 near the I-93 split was closed to allow crews to sand the road after numerous spin-outs. Troopers reported about 30 crashes in the area, none of which resulted in serious injuries.

After the highway reopened, speeds were limited to about 25 mph in the area.

Friday night, several ramps on and off I-495 were closed because of icy conditions. As of 11 p.m., the roads were back open after the Massachusetts Department of Transportation treated the roads. Massachusetts State Police said the closures began around 8:30 p.m Friday. All off and on-ramps from exit 14 to edit 17 were closed.

There is also the possibility for falling tree limbs causing power outages, though the National Weather Service predicted the problem areas would be in central and western Massachusetts rather than Rhode Island.

Drivers should give themselves extra travel time on Saturday not only because of the weather conditions but also because it’s one of the busiest travel days of the year.

AAA predicts 107 million Americans will be traveling this holiday season. The vast majority of those will be on the roads, according to AAA Northeast spokesperson Lloyd Albert.

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“If you want to beat the traffic, probably the best argument is to leave very early in the morning or right after rush hour and avoid those very, very peak travel times,” Albert advised.

The wintry weather could also interfere with air travel. See the WPRI.com Flight Tracker for information on your flight.

But what about Monday? Will we see a white Christmas? The chances are actually increasing, at least for parts of our area.  A snowfall accumulation map has been posted on the Pinpoint Weather Blog.

In the video below, Eyewitness News reporter Michaela MacDonald catches up with some travelers at T.F. Green.

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