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White Christmas in Halifax County? Maybe

As children across Halifax County await the arrival of Santa Claus and his reindeer tonight, the county’s chance for a “White Christmas” is up in the air…literally.

Weather forecasters are predicting the area will see some of the white stuff, but they don’t agree when it will hit.

The National Weather Service (NWS) is calling for a 40 percent chance of snow before 3 p.m. Christmas day, then a chance of rain and snow between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., then a chance of more snow after 4 that afternoon.

Christmas night, the NWS is calling for snow likely, mainly after 1 a.m. with a 60 percent chance. The NWS said the area should get more snow Sunday, but NWS meteorologists say there is only a 40 percent chance.

The meteorologists at WSET, Channel 13 in Lynchburg, are calling for the possibility of flurries or light snow showers Christmas day with widespread snow more likely Saturday night into Sunday.

They say they are uncertain what track the storm will take, but for now, two to four inches of snow are possible by late Sunday.

Weather forecasters at WDBJ, Channel 7 in Roanoke, are predicting snow showers for Halifax County Christmas day. For Sunday, they say snow is likely for the area with high temperatures straining to reach the mid 30s and lows in the low 20s.

And StormTeam10 is calling for snow Christmas day into Sunday with accumulation in the one-inch to four-inch range. But they say that is subject to change.

The meteorologists at WSLS10 are predicting the chance of snow from 10 a.m. Christmas day through 9 a.m. Sunday.

Earlier in the week, all forecasters were predicting the snow would hit sometime tonight and continue into Christmas Day. But the storm that is predicting to bring the snow slowed a bit, forcing weather forecasters to change their predictions.

With snow in the forecast, AAA Mid-Atlantic advises motorists to be prepared and adhere to winter driving safety tips. Knowing how to drive properly on slick roads makes all the difference in the world when the precipitation starts to fall.

AAA urges motorists to have a winter weather kit in their car which can not only help to free the vehicle which may be stuck in the snow, but also to warn other motorists and keep the driver and passengers safe and warm.

Winter weather driving kits should include a blanket, ice scraper, flares or reflective triangles, a flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, a bag of abrasive material such as cat litter, a shovel, cloth or paper towels and a cell phone with a fully-charged battery.

Drivers are advised to heed the following tips:

• Increase following distance – Increase following distance to at least 10 seconds to allow time in the event the car in front loses control. The stopping distance required on ice at zero degrees Fahrenheit is twice the amount required at 32 degrees.

•  Use extra caution on bridges and overpasses – Bridges and overpasses freeze first and melt last. Therefore, use extra caution as the roadway leading up to the bridge may appear fine, but the bridge itself could be a sheet of ice.

• Accelerate slowly – Traction is the greatest just before the wheel starts to spin, therefore accelerating slowly will increase the vehicle’s grip on the road.

•  Ease off the gas pedal – If tires begin to slip or the vehicle begins to skid, ease off the gas pedal until control of the vehicle is regained.

• Brake slowly and gently – Slamming on the brakes on ice-covered roads dramatically increases the risk of losing control of the vehicle.

• Control the skid – In the event the vehicle skids, ease off of the accelerator or brake, and steer in the direction desired for the front of the car to go.

• Never use cruise control – Cruise control is not recommended when ice is on the road as the driver should be in full control of the vehicle at every second.

• Drive in cleared lanes – Changing lanes unnecessarily puts a driver at greater risk of hitting a patch of ice between lanes that may result in loss of control of the vehicle.