By Sholnn Freeman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 18, 2009; B02
A winter storm is expected to dump significant amounts of snow across much of the Washington region this weekend, with the first flakes starting as early as Friday night.
The storm, which developed along the Gulf Coast, is expected to bring four to eight inches or more of snow to the Washington region. Meteorologists said it will reach the area after hammering the western part of Virginia along the Blue Ridge Mountains.
In Washington and along the East Coast, the storm is expected to create travel problems and stymie Christmas shoppers.
The Virginia Department of Transportation, which is responsible for clearing snow and ice from almost 58,000 miles of state-maintained roads, began gearing up its response Thursday. Crews from the agency planned to spray anti-icing chemicals on bridges and ramps.
Accuweather meteorologist Andy Ulrich said major airports could face delays as runways are cleared of snow and ice. Washington area airport officials suggest travelers check with airlines before leaving home.
Ulrich said that temperatures in the Washington area are expected to fall into the 20s on Saturday and that the windchill factor will nudge readings into the teens.
He predicted that the snow will stop in the "wee hours of Sunday morning." Sunday is expected to stay relatively breezy with temperatures in the low 30s and periodic sunshine.
Travel is expected to be disrupted on Interstate 95 from North Carolina through Washington and up to New York City, according to Accuweather.com.