Treacherous roads foreseen following storm
With temperatures in the single digits, Fredericksburg-area roads are expected to be dangerous Tuesday morning on the heels of Monday’s snowstorm.
“Absolutely anything that is wet on the roads [Monday] evening is going to freeze,” Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kelly Hannon said. “Anyone planning to drive needs to use extreme caution. Even if you see bare pavement, it could be ice.”
Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency during Monday’s winter storm, which dumped 5 to 8 inches of snow on the Fredericksburg area.
Tuesday’s high is expected to reach 32 degrees, National Weather Service meteorologist Ken Widelski said.
Schools throughout the region were closed Monday. (Check here for the latest closings on Tuesday.) Students have missed a lot of class in recent weeks thanks to a string of snowstorms.
Stafford County, Spotsylvania County and Fredericksburg government offices and facilities were opening two hours late today.
VDOT expected to have its Park & Ride commuter lots in the Fredericksburg District cleared before Tuesday morning’s rush hour. Its priority was to clear Interstate 95 and other well-traveled roads on Monday. However, crews started to clear subdivision streets overnight, and planned to concentrate on those roads all day today.
“People might have a little bit of a path out of their neighborhood [Tuesday] morning, but they won’t see bare pavement,” Hannon said.
Hannon suggested residents call 1-800-FOR-ROAD if they haven’t seen a plow in their neighborhood by 7 or so this evening.
VDOT’s goal is to have all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours of a storm’s end. This week, VDOT crews will continue to work 24 hours a day, in 12-hour shifts, until all state-maintained roads are safe for travel, she said.
Virginia State Police had responded to 1,145 traffic crashes and 451 disabled vehicles as of 6:30 p.m. Monday, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.
That included three fatal accidents. Those accidents took place in Amelia, Brunswick and Campbell counties between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. In each case, one person was killed after a driver lost control of his or her vehicle, according to information from Geller.
In addition, a state trooper suffered minor injuries when his parked car was rear-ended by another car about 4:30 p.m. in Augusta County.
More than 600 of those accidents occurred in the police divisions that include the Fredericksburg area.
Virginia State Police dispatchers fielded 2,952 total calls for service by 6:30 p.m. Monday.
No widespread power outages had been reported in the Fredericksburg area as of Monday night.
Temperatures are expected to slowly creep upward over the next three days, hitting the upper 40s by Friday and then in to the 50s over the weekend., according to Accuweather and National Weather Service forecasts.
Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402
SAFE DRIVING TIPS:
Virginia State Police offer the following safety tips for driving in inclement weather.
- State law requires headlights to be on when windshield wipers are in active use.
- Completely clear all windows and head/taillights of snow and ice before traveling.
- Add extra time to reach the travel destination.
- Slow your speed for road conditions.
- Increase driving distances between vehicles for increased stopping distance.
- Do not tailgate snow plows or sand trucks
- Always buckle up and ensure your passengers are buckled up.
- Do not drive distracted.
- If your vehicle begins to hydroplane, steer your vehicle in the direction you want your vehicle to go.
- Brake and accelerate lightly.
- Plan ahead before you travel by calling 511 for road conditions or click on http://www.511virginia.org. Only use 911 and #77 for emergencies.
- Have a charged cell phone and extra blankets, water, snacks in case your vehicle becomes disabled.
- Know your location to give to an emergency dispatcher to include the direction of travel in case you need emergency response. Use exit numbers or mile markers when on the interstate as points of reference. (For example, say I-95 northbound at the 80 mile marker.)