Virginia Continues to Respond to Winter Storm

March 14, 2017  //  

RICHMOND – Overnight, a mix of snow, sleet and ice impacted large areas of the Commonwealth, especially focused in Northern and northwestern Virginia. Personnel from the Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia State Police and the Virginia National Guard continue 24-hour response activities to respond to slick roads, local government needs and emergency situations.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews continue clearing and treating impacted roadways. While some areas of the state only had rain or trace amounts of snow, drivers are still advised to use caution, especially on bridges and overpasses, as temperatures in much of the state hover around the freezing mark and black ice can form quickly. Motorists are advised to use extreme caution this evening and overnight tonight as lower temperatures can cause re-freeze on roads that have been plowed or treated throughout the day today.

Virginians can monitor online neighborhood tracking maps to check on the status of snow plowing in the Northern Virginia area at http://novasnowplowing.virginia.gov.

Virginia State Police are responding to an increased number of accidents as drivers encounter slick road conditions. As of 9 a.m. this morning, the State Police have responded to more than 150 traffic crashes and disabled vehicles statewide. Motorists are reminded to slow down and increase following distance between vehicles to allow more time to react to changing road conditions.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) continues staffing the Virginia Emergency Operations Center around the clock to provide resources and support to state agencies and local governments impacted by the storm.

The Virginia National Guard has nearly 200 personnel staged at readiness centers across Northern Virginia to support requests for assistance. Expected missions for the Guard include using Humvees and light/medium tactical trucks to provide transportation for first responders through deep snow or help evacuate citizens in need of shelter as well as providing debris reduction teams with chain saws to help clear roads if needed.

Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency at 2 p.m. Monday. This action authorizes state agencies to assist local governments in responding to a major winter storm that is expected to impact the Commonwealth over the next 24 hours. In declaring a state of emergency, the governor authorizes state agencies to identify and position resources for quick response anywhere they are needed in Virginia. This action does not apply to individuals or private businesses.

Governor McAuliffe urges Virginians to remain vigilant even if this storm has not resulted in major snow accumulations in most parts of the Commonwealth.

“Virginians throughout much of the Commonwealth woke up this morning to slick and wet roads, while Northern Virginia and northwestern Virginia have seen snow accumulations of up to 10 inches in some places,” said Governor McAuliffe. “We appreciate motorists who have heeded warnings to stay off of roadways, telework, and to give VDOT crews extra time to clear roadways this morning. Schools in Northern Virginia are closed today to keep students safe. And state resources are coordinating with Dominion Virginia Power and other utilities to restore power to more than 30,000 customers without power due to the storm.”

“VDOT crews and more than 4,000 pieces of equipment are deployed to plow roadways and treat icy areas,” said Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne. “Driving conditions during the storm are expected to be hazardous and motorists are urged to stay off the roads until the storm passes. Be on the lookout for refreezing as temperatures hover around freezing and roads may refreeze overnight.” 

“Virginia’s state and local responders are working together to address the impacts of this winter storm,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “While the largest impacts of this storm were focused in the Shenandoah Valley and Northern Virginia, power outages, slick roadways and treacherous conditions are more widespread. Motorists should avoid unnecessary travel and monitor road conditions closely using 511Virginia.org or by calling 511 before traveling if they must go out today and tonight.”

What Citizens Should Do:

  • Stay off the roads during the storm unless travel is absolutely necessary. If travel is necessary, drive with caution and allow extra space around other vehicles.
  • Use extreme caution around slow-moving equipment being used to treat roads, such as snow plows.
  • If you have electric-dependent medical equipment, make sure all primary and backup batteries are fully charged. Make sure you have the medical supplies you will need for at least 72 hours.
  • If you receive dialysis treatments or have other critical medical appointments during the week, make plans now for transportation or reschedule if possible.
  • Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter and is in safe driving condition. Keep an emergency kit in your car. Include items such as jumper cables, blankets, first aid kit, water, non-perishable food, cat litter or sand, shovel, flash light and batteries, ice scraper and cell phone charger.
  • Check on elderly or neighbors who are unable to leave their homes, family, and friends to ensure they are ready for this storm and any possible inconveniences or interruptions that may result.
  • Bring pets inside from the cold.
  • Be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least 72 hours, in case roads are blocked and/or there are power outages.
  • Have a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio and extra batteries for emergency information. Listen to local weather forecasts and instructions from local officials.
  • If you need help, information or resources during the storm, call 211. Those with hearing impairments can call 711 for the Virginia Relay Center and then call 1-800-230-6977. Out of state or videophone users may also dial 1-800-230-6977 for assistance.
  • Download the free VDOT 511 app for updates on road conditions at: http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/511.asp.

For more information on the Commonwealth’s response efforts, visit http://www.vaemergency.gov.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Date: March 14, 2017

Virginia Department of Emergency Management
Contact: Jeff Caldwell
Email: Jeff.Caldwell@vdem.virginia.gov
Phone: (804) 897-9730

Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund