Salem District: Icy roads in western Virginia may cause hazardous conditions Thursday morning

Go early! Adjust travel until temperatures rise and risk of freezing rain passes.

SALEM — The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting a wintry mix of precipitation that includes freezing rain for western Virginia during the overnight hours on Wednesday, December 21, and continuing into the morning on Thursday, December 22. The storm is expected to start as freezing rain and transition to rain as temperatures rise.    

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is warning drivers of the potential for slick roads overnight and into Thursday morning, particularly in mountainous areas, on bridges and overpasses, and in cooler spots. Drivers are urged to postpone travel until conditions improve and the risk of freezing rain passes.

VDOT crews and contractors have applied liquid pretreatment to interstates and main roads ahead of the storm. They will monitor conditions overnight and Thursday and will treat roads by applying salt and abrasives as necessary. The difference in just a few degrees of temperature can determine if ice accumulates on roadways. If a road looks wet, it may be icy.

With additional winter weather expected on Friday, VDOT is advising travelers to consider leaving early, especially if heading north on Interstate 81 or to destinations north of Virginia. Snow and a flash freeze could create hazardous driving conditions as wet roads become icy quickly when temperatures drop fall rapidly.

Safety and travel resources

When winter weather arrives, residents and motorists should plan travel ahead of time, check road conditions, prepare an emergency car kit, follow forecasts and announcements and limit travel based on conditions.

Prior to travel, motorists should visit 511virginia.org, call 511 or check the 511 Virginia mobile app for up-to-date information on road and traffic conditions.

For questions or to report hazardous road conditions, the public should contact VDOT’s 24-hour Customer Service Center by visiting my.vdot.virginia.gov or calling 800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623).

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Last updated: July 17, 2024

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