Virginia Continues to Monitor and Respond to Winter Storm
~Winter storm and blizzard warning active until 1 p.m.~
RICHMOND – A winter storm warning is still active for east central, eastern, south central, and southeast portions of Virginia until 1 p.m. In addition, a blizzard warning has been issued for Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach until 1 p.m. Virginians living in the impacted areas should stay off the roadways to allow local and state road crews and first responders to do their jobs safely and efficiently. With continued frigid temperatures expected to last for several more days, road conditions will remain treacherous beyond the expected end of the snowfall today.
Storm Highlights as of 8 a.m. unless otherwise noted:
- Localities in the path of this storm have already begun requesting assistance, VDEM will continue to coordinate with VDOT, State Police, the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia National Guard, and localities throughout Virginia to ensure any local needs for assistance are addressed during and after the storm.
- VDEM activated the Virginia Emergency Operations Center at 6 a.m. this morning to field locality and state agency requests for assistance. At this time there are eight localities with open EOCs.
- Dominion Energy is reporting approximately 42,000 customers without service for Southeastern Virginia and 2,700 without power in Middle Peninsula as of 8 a.m. This comprises about 4 percent of those areas. Northern Neck CoOP has fewer than 50 customers with outages and A&N has fewer than 300 customers with outages.
- VDOT is reporting more than 630 road segments impacted by the weather and three road closures as of 7:30 a.m.
- Virginia State Police Chesapeake Division is responding to 5 traffic crashes and 22 disabled vehicles.
- Virginia State Police Richmond Division troopers are responding to 28 traffic crashes and 7 disabled vehicles.
- No crash fatalities have been reported at this time and the majority of crashes involve only damage to vehicles and few injuries.
- The cold temperatures remain dangerous. Virginia Department of Health, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, reports three fatalities in Virginia (one in the Northern region and two in the Eastern region) related to the cold weather over the past couple of weeks. None of these fatalities are related to today’s snow.
- Amtrak has cancelled service between Washington D.C. and Newport News today.
- The Port of Virginia is closed to in and outbound traffic.
- Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews have begun 24-hour operations. Motorists are strongly encouraged to stay off the roads during the storm. For information about road and traffic conditions, check www.511virginia.org or call 511 before traveling.
- VDOT reports that most roads in central and eastern Virginia are in moderate (snow or ice is covering major portions of the roadway) to minor conditions (isolated patches of snow or slush on the road surface).
- VDOT has more than 1,500 crew members and more than 1,400 pieces of equipment responding to the storm on each 12-hour shift.
- The latest road conditions are available at www.511virginia.org, through the free mobile app or by phone. You can track the location of most snow plows at VDOT’s Snow Plow Tracker. The tracker is activated once snow reaches two inches or more.
- The Virginia National Guard has nearly 100 personnel staged and ready to assist with the state's multi-agency response to possible heavy snow Jan. 3, 2018, at key locations in the Hampton Roads area. Expected missions include using Humvees and light/medium tactical trucks to provide transportation for first responders through deep snow as well as providing debris reduction teams with chain saws to help clear roads if needed.
What Citizens Should Do
- Virginians should keep a close watch on the local weather forecast and stay off roads during this weather event unless travel is absolutely necessary. In addition to slick roads, blowing snow could reduce visibility to less than a quarter mile at times in some areas. If you must travel, allow extra time for the trip, drive at a low speed and stay at a safe distance from other vehicles.
- Download the free VDOT 511 app for updates on road conditions at: http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/511.asp. Or dial 5-1-1 from any phone for the latest travel conditions.
- 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 homebound neighbors, family, and friends to ensure they are ready for this storm and service interruptions that may result.
- 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.
- Bring pets inside from the cold.
- Have a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio and extra batteries for emergency information. Listen to local weather forecasts and instructions from local officials.
- Listen to local media or contact local government for the location and availability of local warming shelters if you need a place to come in out of the cold.
- If you need help, information or resources during the storm, call 2-1-1. 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.
- If motorists need to report an emergency, dial #77 on your mobile phone.
- If you must travel:
- Clear off ALL snow and ice from your vehicle – windows, roof, trunk and lights.
- Add extra time to reach travel destination.
- Slowdown and drive appropriately for the road conditions.
- Increase driving distances between vehicles for increased stopping distance.
- Buckle up and don’t drive distracted.
- MOVE OVER for all stopped emergency vehicles, highway vehicles and tow trucks.
- If you encounter slow-moving equipment such as snow plows, slow down and give them the right of way.
For more information on the Commonwealth’s response efforts for winter weather or to find out how to keep your family safe, visit http://www.vaemergency.gov.