Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
Stacy Londrey 540-727-3201
March 16, 2014
HAZARDOUS DRIVING EXPECTED ONCE SNOW BEGINS TODAY
VDOT prepares for another winter storm, Central Va. residents should do the same
CULPEPER — This weekend’s hint of spring weather will abruptly end this afternoon as a winter storm bears down on Central Virginia. Precipitation is forecast to begin as rain Sunday afternoon but is expected to quickly turn to snow that will continue into Monday afternoon. The Virginia Department of Transportation is completing preparations for the storm and urges residents to do the same.
The weather is forecast to change quickly today: temperatures will fall rapidly and the snow will accumulate up to one-half inch per hour through Sunday evening. Once the storm begins driving is likely to become hazardous as temperatures are predicted to drop below freezing tonight and early Monday morning. VDOT recommends that non-essential travel be postponed until the storm has passed and road conditions improve.
The Virginia Department of Transportation’s Culpeper District is prepared for the storm. Trucks are rigged with plows and will be loaded with sand and salt when crews report for duty at noon. Additional resources, including tree removal crews and tow trucks, are available and will be deployed as needed.
What you should expect
• Crews focus their snow-removal operations first on the interstate and primary highways. Once those roads are in good condition crews move to the secondary roads and finally into neighborhoods to clear subdivision streets.
• On major highways multiple plows often travel in a staggered formation to clear the entire width of the road. The plow trains travel at a speed suitable for road conditions. Passing these plow trains is extremely dangerous; stay at least 100 feet behind the trailing plow.
• VDOT’s goal is to make all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours after the storm ends. In many cases plows will make one pass along secondary roads and continue on to open other roads before returning to plow the full width of the road.
How you can help
• Make preparations for the storm before it begins. Anticipate power outages and hazardous travel conditions.
• Postpone non-essential travel until after the storm passes and roads are in good condition.
• If you must travel check weather and road conditions before you leave, including along the route and at your destination. Allow plenty of time for the trip. Drive for conditions: slow down and leave plenty of space between you and other vehicles.
• Clear all your vehicle’s windows and remove snow from the roof and other surfaces. Keep an emergency kit in the car, including a shovel, sand or other abrasive, a blanket and a flashlight. Keep your gas tank at least half full.
• Shovel snow from your driveway to the right as you face the street. This will minimize the snow pushed into the driveway by plows clearing the road. Consider waiting to shovel the last several feet closest to the street until after plows have passed.
This winter storm is forecast to affect most of Virginia. Road conditions in different parts of the state may vary greatly and VDOT recommends that anyone considering travel check the conditions along their route and at their destination and plan their trip accordingly. VDOT’s 511 travel website, www.511virginia.org, is updated in real time with weather and road conditions for all highways in Virginia. Once on the road VDOT’s 511 mobile app provides real-time traffic and weather information for both iPhone and Android platforms. Travelers can also call 511 from any telephone in Virginia for real-time information on traffic and road conditions.
Note to reporters and editors: Additional information about VDOT’s preparations for winter weather, how the agency responds to snow and ice, FAQs and information about the technology and tools VDOT uses in its winter weather response is available online at www.virginiadot.org/travel/snow.asp.
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.