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Plummeting temperatures to yield rapid freeze-up in southeastern U.S.

By Nicole LoBiondo, AccuWeather, Accuweather.com

After a winter storm that brought significant ice and snow to portions of the Southeast and mid-Atlantic coast that caused major travel disruptions Friday into Saturday morning, residents are still not out of the woods yet as a blast of Arctic air will bring the threat for a rapid freeze-up.

Ice and snow snarled travel in cities like Raleigh, N.C., where a Delta Airlines flight skidded off the runway at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Friday night. Meanwhile, snow made travel "downright dangerous" in Virginia Beach and along other major highways in the region.

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Now that snow and ice have come to an end across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic coast as of late Saturday morning, AccuWeather meteorologists are concerned for a rapid freeze-up Saturday night into Sunday morning in the region.

Sunlight and relatively mild conditions with temperatures that reached the middle 30s and lower 40s, melting accumulated snow and ice during the daylight hours on Saturday caused roads and sidewalks to remain wet into Saturday evening and overnight hours.

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Cities from Salisbury, Md., to Norfolk through Raleigh and into northern South Carolina could face a rapid freeze Saturday night as temperatures fall back below freezing.

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"Any wet or slushy areas will freeze Saturday night as overnight temperatures plummet into the teens and low 20s across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic", AccuWeather meteorologist Randy Adkins.

Temperatures are set to plummet Saturday night in cities like Norfolk, Va., that could reach 20 degrees Fahrenheit, while Raleigh expected to reach a bone-chilling 18 degrees. Charlotte is set to reach an overnight low of 22 degrees.

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Prompt removal of snow and slush on Saturday, then treatment by highway crews and property owners may make roads and sidewalks much safer for motorists and pedestrians come Sunday morning as any wet surfaces will freeze.

AccuWeather meteorologists warn that anyone traveling Sunday morning along I-95, I-40, I-85, I-77 and I-26 corridors should take extra caution as any wet roads, especially bridges and overpasses, will freeze resulting in dangerous travel conditions.

High pressure will take hold of the weather pattern across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic through next Thursday promoting mainly dry conditions and waves of cold air set to blast into the region. While afternoon temperatures are expected to stay above freezing across much of the region through next week, overnight lows will dip well below freezing.

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Clear skies are often present in areas that high pressure sets up, resulting in brilliant blue hues overhead. While these clear skies allow for sunshine during the day, they also promote rapidly falling temperatures at night. Any snow on the ground can further enhance cooling during the overnight hours.

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With dry and clear conditions set to prevail, any additional snow melt, especially just south of Norfolk where communities picked up over 6 inches inches of snow, is expected to freeze overnight. Residents should remain vigilant of any wet surfaces during the day and put down ice-melting compounds to prevent icy spots from developing overnight.

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