Winter storm prompts gov. to declare state of emergency

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — Gov. Bob McDonnell has declared a state of emergency for the Commonwealth as a winter storm continues to bear down on Virginia.

WTVR.com will stream the news conference LIVE on WTVR.com. [Click here to watch] 

The CBS 6 Storm Team says winter weather will impact the Commonwealth through early Thursday morning.

Accumulation will be wet and slushy as surface temperatures will still be above freezing.  Much heavier accumulations of snow will occur north and west of the metro.  [Click here for the updated snowfall forecast map]

Officials are urging folks to stay off the roads as heavy, wet snow continues to fall across the state. McDonnell stressed that the worst of the storm is not over — and heavy bands of snow and high winds will likely cause additional power outages.

McDonnell stressed downed power lines will present a significant danger in the state.

McDonnell’s emergency declaration authorizes state agencies to assist local governments in responding to the snow storm currently impacting the Commonwealth.

Here are additional details from the Office of the Governor: 

The state said over 12 inches of snow already has been reported in several locations along the northern Interstate 81 corridor.

Additionally, 170,000 customers are without power in Virginia, and that number will likely increase as the storm continues to affect Virginia and winds increase.

Actions taken in Virginia include:

• The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has held weather conference calls with the National Weather Service, state agencies and local governments.

• The Virginia Department of Transportation 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 also has 335,000 tons of salt and 125,000 tons of sand and abrasives on hand. VDOT’s goal is to have all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours after the winter storm ends. In northern Virginia, VDOT has one snow removal program for high volume roads such has Interstates 66, 95, 395, 495, Routes 1, 7, 15, 28, 50, Fairfax County Parkway, Prince William Parkway, etc.), and another snow removal program for subdivisions (main thoroughfares in neighborhoods, residential streets and cul de sacs). Crews will be working on high volume roads and in subdivisions concurrently. For each of these programs, roads with the highest traffic volumes are cleared first.

• From midnight through 10 a.m. today, Virginia State Police fielded 1,346 calls for service, which included more than 367 traffic crashes and 237 disabled vehicles. As of 10:30 a.m., troopers were responding to a total of 111 incidents across the Commonwealth. The majority of the crashes involve damaged vehicles only and no injuries. The bulk of the crashes are taking place in the Metro Richmond region and the Augusta County-Charlottesville area. Shifts have been extended and additional troopers called out to work so that all available personnel are on the roads and available to respond as quickly as possible to traffic crashes and stranded motorists. No traffic fatalities have been reported. Virginia State Police are still advising motorists to avoid traveling on the roads as this system continues to produce additional amounts of snow in the western, central and northern regions of the state.

• The Virginia National Guard is staging personnel to support Virginia State Police in snow response. The VNG has been authorized to bring up to 200 personnel on state active duty. At this point, two groups of 50 personnel will be staged in northern and central Virginia.

• The Virginia Emergency Operations Center has additional response team members to coordinate the state’s response to the storm.

Motorists should avoid traveling as the snow storm continues across the western, central and northern regions of the state.

Local governments may open warming centers or overnight shelters in affected areas. Get shelter information from your local emergency management office or by calling 211.

If you need assistance for a person with special needs, call 211 or visit www.211virginia.org. All referrals are confidential

Visit www.ReadyVirginia.gov for additional information and download the new Ready Virginia app for iPhones and Android devices.

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for most complete coverage of this winter storm. 

COMPLETE COVERAGE: March Winter Storm  



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