Rapid Snowfall Impacts Roads Across Central VA and the Valley
Central Virginia is becoming a winter wonderland and icy patches and snow are covering roads Sunday night.
Snow flakes started hitting the ground around 3:00 Sunday afternoon and have been sticking since, causing drivers to see some icy, dangerous conditions.
By early Sunday night, Virginia State Police have responded to a reported 170 motor vehicle crashes and 53 in Augusta County alone. As of 6:00 p.m., police in Augusta County say they have received no reports so far of serious injury.
The rapid snowfall coated the streets in Fishersville over a 40 minute span. In Waynesboro accumulation quickly started adding up to a couple of inches.
State police say the largest number of accidents often come in the first few hours of a storm.
Virginia State Police First Sergeant Scott Van Lear said, "When it first starts, I think a lot of people get excited and want to play in the snow... Traffic seems to pick up. Once they're out and about for a while and see a couple of vehicles in the ditch, they realize how treacherous it is."
Lear also says it can take some time for road salts and other chemicals to do their job. All 12 state troopers stationed in Augusta County are on the clock or on-call for the winter storm.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reports that drivers commuting on Interstate 64, Route 29, Route 33 and Route 22 should expect dangerous driving conditions and be cautious for ice.
VDOT also reports moderate conditions on primary roads like Route 250, Route 15, and Route 53 - meaning they are mostly covered by snow and ice. Crews are working around the clock to clear the roads.
They also encourage drivers to stay off the roads. If driving is a necessity folks should do so with great caution.
Mary Dunleavy contributed to this story
Press Release from the Virginia Department of Transportation
STAUNTON – (4:15 p.m.) Snow has started to fall in the southern Shenandoah Valley including the counties of Rockbridge, Alleghany, Bath, Highland and Augusta. Road are mostly in minor conditions. Moderate conditions are possible in areas of higher elevation.
Road surface temperatures remain above freezing, so snow is tending to melt on the roads. In non-treated areas slush is possible. Motorists should drive with extreme caution in these areas.
Icing conditions on roads could occur tonight if surface temperatures dip below freezing. Virginia Department of Transportation crews are out this afternoon and will remain out all night to treat and plow roads as necessary.
For winter weather road conditions go the www.511Virginia.org, look to the left side of the page and click on the "Road Conditions" bar. A map will appear with color coded roads. Right above the map is a link reading: "Click here for a list of road conditions, including secondary roads". Click on this link, then in the drop-down box click on the desired county or Virginia statewide. A text box of road conditions will appear.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at www.511Virginia.org. For other assistance call the VDOT Customer Service Center, available 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week. Citizens can dial 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623) from anywhere in the state to report road hazards, ask transportation questions, or get information related to Virginia's roads.
VDOT can be followed on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and You Tube. RSS feeds are also available for statewide information. The VDOT webpage is located at www.VirginiaDOT.org. The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties.
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