The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning from 10 a.m. Thursday to 1 a.m. Friday in Augusta, Nelson, Albemarle, Greene and Orange Counties.
Virginia Department of Transportation crews are working 24-hour shifts to keep central Virginia's roads safe Thursday night.
Crews did not pre-treat the roadways because of the rain. Instead, they left the Free Union area headquarters shortly after 1 p.m. to get pre-positioned along major roadways.
"We begin with the interstates and then the primaries and then head to the secondary roads numbered 600 and above so motorists should be extra careful on the roads that they live on, those are typically secondary roads, and are the ones that are likely to be slick or icy later tonight as the temperatures drop even further," said Stacy Londrey of VDOT.
VDOT advises to always keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles when traveling on slick roads. Also, do not pass a snow plow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary.
VDOT encourages people not to travel Thursday night, but if you decide to go out check road conditions by calling 511, or clicking here.
Virginia Department of Transportation Press Release
Richmond, VA — Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews are fully mobilized in preparation for the winter storm expected to hit most of the state later today. Snow removal efforts are already under way in the western region of Virginia where snow has begun to fall early this afternoon. Roads are becoming snow covered and motorists are urged to drive with extreme caution.
According the weather forecasts, as the storm moves eastward across the state, rain showers are predicted to change into snow through the afternoon hours into the evening, with higher snow totals expected in the western part of the state.
"We are ready for whatever Mother Nature decides to bring our way," said VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley. "VDOT encourages motorists to check road conditions prior to travel and, if possible, avoid unnecessary travel until conditions improve."
VDOT crews have readied their snowplows, checked salt and sand supplies and are fully mobilized in anticipation of the winter weather.
VDOT has 2,424 pieces of state equipment, approximately 7,144 pieces of hired equipment and 818 pieces of interstate contractor equipment available for snow- and ice-control activities.
VDOT's goal is to have all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours after a winter storm ends.
Crews first begin clearing interstates, primary roads and major secondary roads that connect localities, fire stations, employment hubs, military posts, schools, hospitals and other important public facilities. Secondary roads and subdivision streets will be treated if multiday storms hit the commonwealth, but crews will focus efforts on those roads that carry the most traffic.
VDOT's Winter Weather Tools
VDOT continues to use the latest anti-icing techniques. Anti-icing involves applying chemicals to roadways before a storm to prepare the pavement and prevent a bond from forming between the surface and the snow and ice. VDOT will use anti-icing chemicals, including salt brine, magnesium chloride and calcium chloride, on roads around the state this winter.
· Check road conditions before leaving home by calling 511 or logging in to www.511Virginia.org and avoid unnecessary travel
· Slow down and allow for extra time to reach your destination
· Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges
· Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the road
· Do not pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary
Motorists should check VDOT's 511 website, www.511virginia.org, prior to travel. The website features real-time 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.
For overall winter weather information, VDOT's website includes frequently asked questions, driving tips and tools for motorists to learn more about VDOT's winter preparedness at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/snow.asp.