RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY/WRIC) — Gov. Ralph Northam issued Executive Order 76 establishing a state of emergency for Virginia and in less than 24 hours, Virginia State Police (VSP) has responded to more than 560 vehicle-related incidents.
The Executive Order went into effect Thursday and will remain in effect until February 13, unless the governor opts to amend or rescind the warning.
By issuing a state of emergency, state and local governments are able to free up services to help keep Virginians safe during the event.
VSP say troopers have responded to 195 disabled/stuck vehicles and 366 traffic crashes across the state since midnight. They are reminding residents to stay home and stay safe.
A regional breakdown for the 12 a.m. to 9 p.m. period:
- Richmond Division: 41 disabled vehicles & 77 traffic crashes
- Culpeper Division: 10 disabled vehicles & 47 traffic crashes
- Appomattox Division: 14 disabled vehicles & 45 traffic crashes
- Wytheville Division: 15 disabled vehicles & 13 traffic crashes
- Chesapeake Division: 51 disabled vehicles & 60 traffic crashes
- Salem Division: 22 disabled vehicles & 31 traffic crashes
- Fairfax Division: 42 disabled vehicles & 93 traffic crashes
More than 277,063 people are without power Saturday night as icy conditions continue to wreak havoc across Virginia, with downed power lines and trees shutting out the lights for residents.
This number includes reports from providers across the state. Dominion Energy is leading the list with 145,047 customers without power.
Check latest on statewide outages here.
Additionally, the National Weather Service issued an ice storm warning for Central Virginia.
“Be very careful walking around or driving tonight. Also, if at all possible, try to avoid using candles as emergency lighting,” NWS tweeted.
The warning begins at midnight on Friday and continues until 5 a.m. on Sunday.
As of 9:20 p.m. Saturday, freezing rain has tapered to freezing drizzle over much of central and south-central Virginia and will continue overnight, according to NWS.
While accumulating freezing rain has ended, significant impacts from Saturday’s event continue, and with temperatures lingering in the upper 20s to around 30s, it will make safe travel in these areas difficult to nearly impossible.
“Please avoid non-essential travel overnight,” NWS tweeted.
Communities across the region should continue preparing for power outages, tree damage, and ice.
Road conditions remain hazardous across the Fredericksburg District this evening, and drivers are asked to continue avoiding travel as Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews work to clear downed trees and treat for potential icing.
If you must travel, please practice the following safe traffic tips:
- Make sure all windows and lights are clear of snow before heading out
- Slow speed for icy conditions.
- Always buckle up – driver and all passengers.
- Drive distraction free – put down the phone and coffee, and keep both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
- Use headlights to increase your visibility and to help other drivers see you better.
- Share the road responsibly with VDOT vehicles and emergency vehicles.
- Check Virginia 511 before you go for road conditions, closures and detours.