Travelers should pay attention to weekend weather

Be aware of conditions and plan trips around winter storm

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RICHMOND, Va. – Those planning to travel in or through Virginia this weekend, may need to adjust their plans as a winter storm is expected to begin late Friday night in southwestern Virginia and continue through the rest of the state overnight and through Saturday.

“It’s important to remember that the safest place during a winter storm is indoors,” said Virginia Department of Transportation Chief Deputy Commissioner Cathy McGhee. “When travelers stay off the roads during a winter storm, transportation workers and public-safety officials can clear roads and respond more quickly to emergency needs. With the possibility of snow, mixed precipitation and freezing rain in some areas, motorists should be vigilant, track local weather along their routes, and change their travel plans if conditions worsen.”

Winter weather impacts will likely be focused in western Virginia areas such as Bristol, Salem, Staunton, western Culpeper and northern Virginia. Additionally, there is the potential of significant snowfall along with some mixed precipitation and freezing rain in northwestern Virginia areas, with the highest chances in western Staunton, Culpeper, and northern Virginia, where accumulating snowfall of 6 to 8 inches may be possible. In southern and southeastern Virginia, periods of moderate rain are expected through the day Saturday. Pavements will cool across the state into Saturday night, which could cause wet surfaces to re-freeze into Sunday morning.

VDOT crews are pretreating bridges and roadways in some areas and will be monitoring roadways and treating conditions as they develop.

If traveling, motorists should pack an emergency kit and blankets, and have mobile devices fully charged in the event of a breakdown or emergency.

VDOT’S SNOW REMOVAL PRIORITIES 

VDOT is responsible for snow removal on all state-maintained roads, while all cities and some towns maintain their roads. VDOT may support cities and towns, if requested. 

Snow removal priorities are as follows:

  • The Interstate Highway System and limited-access roadways are VDOT’s first priority. 
  • Primary roads (routes numbered 1 to 599) and major secondary roads (routes numbered 600 and up) with vital emergency and public facilities, or those with high-traffic volumes, will be cleared along with interstate and limited-access roadways as resources allow. 
  • Low-volume secondary roads and subdivision streets will be treated after higher-priority routes are completed and additional resources are available. 

INFORMATION ON ROAD CONDITIONS 

Before traveling, check roadway conditions by using VDOT’s free 511 mobile app, which offers information about road conditions, traffic, incidents, construction and congestion as well as access to traffic cameras, weather and more. Information is also available at 511Virginia.org or by calling 511 while in Virginia.

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

STAY SAFE

  • It is best not to travel not during a winter weather event. 
  • Monitor the forecast for your planned route and limit travel based on roadway conditions.
  • Allow more time to reach your destination. 
  • Drive at lower speeds and keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the road.
  • Don't pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary. Treat these as you would emergency response vehicles.
  • Use caution in locations where pavement freezes first, including bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas. 
  • Keep an emergency supply kit in your car at all times in case of a breakdown or stoppage. This should include:
    • Flashlight and extra batteries
    • Ice scraper
    • Cell phone and charger
    • Jumper cables
    • Blankets or quilts
    • First aid kit
    • Bottled water
    • Non-perishable food (nuts, energy bars)
    • Abrasive material for traction (cat litter, sand)
    • Shovel
  • For more about winter weather travel, visit VDOT’s winter weather.  

Last updated: July 11, 2024

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