RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — VDOT officials are urging motorists to delay travel over the weekend due to ice causing very hazardous travel conditions.
VDOT officials say crew a re currently working to treat and clear roads, however, reezing rain, sleet and cold pavement temperatures are expected to continue through Saturday evening, and travel conditions will remain hazardous in many areas.
“A difference in just a few degrees of air or ground temperatures will determine if ice or snow accumulates on roadways,” a release from VDOT Saturday afternoon stated. ” Less traveled roads, shady spots, ramps and bridges are likely to freeze first.”
Gov. Ralph Northam issued Executive Order 76 establishing a State of Emergency for Virginia and the National Weather Service issued an ice storm warning as winter weather sweeps across the Commonwealth.
Many parts of Virginia saw snow, a wintry mix or rain on Thursday night and Friday morning. More ice is expected in the Central region on Saturday, causing the potential for traffic issues and power outages.
The state of emergency went into effect Thursday and will remain in effect until Saturday, March 13 unless the governor opts to amend or rescind the warning.
WAVY News 10 Meteorologist Casey Lehecka says rain/ freezing rain will continue through this afternoon, tapering in the evening. But it will be very tricky to say exactly where that changeover will be.
Sick of the rain yet? Unfortunately, still more to come by Sunday. The morning will be dry with an overcast sky but the rain moves back in through the afternoon.
According to James City County Police, a tree has fallen across the road in the 4900 block of Fenton Mill Road taking down a power line. The road is impassable. VDOT and Dominion Energy have been notified, but there is no estimated time for the road to reopen.
- Stay home until precipitation stops and conditions improve.
- Give crews time to treat roads.
- If you must travel during adverse weather conditions:
- SLOW DOWN
- Do not pass snowplows
- Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind the vehicle ahead of you
- Brake very lightly to keep your tires from slipping on pavement
- Watch for downed trees and power lines
- Visit 511Virginia.org for the latest road conditions in your area.
- For more information on winter weather travel, visit virginiadot.org/travel/snow.asp.
- To report hazardous road conditions or talk to a customer service representative, call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) or visit online at my.vdot.virginia.gov.
- VDOT has partnered with Waze to add a new feature to the navigation software app that allows users to report, in real-time during winter weather, when a road has not been plowed. It will also inform travelers when they are approaching a road that has been identified by other drivers as unplowed.
- Traffic information is also available on Twitter @511statewideVA; for general VDOT information, follow @VaDOT.
If you cannot avoid driving during or after the ice storm AAA gives the following checklist to help ensure driver safety:
- check your vehicle’s battery, lights, brakes, tires, exhaust system and windshield wipers
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and don’t let your car idle inside your garage or with your windows closed for too long
- Clear windows, mirrors and lights of snow and ice. Double check no-freeze windshield wiper fluid
- Clear snow and ice off of your entire care
- Give yourself extra time to get from place to place
- Increase following distance while driving
- Be mindful of places like bridges that freeze faster than roads
- Watch out for black ice
- Avoid abruptly braking
- Avoid changing lanes
- Use major roads instead of back roads
- Dress warm in preparation for being stranded, have blankets for yourself and passengers
- Pack an emergency kit
In addition to ice on the roads, be mindful of where you park your vehicle as ice storms can cause trees to fall. Downed trees can also affect traffic patterns, secondary roads can have much more issues like uncleared ice and fallen limbs to be aware of.