RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia Department of Transportation issued an urgent warning to drivers Saturday afternoon as a second round of winter weather pummeled much of the state.
Officials said that most of the roads in the Richmond region are severe, which means that snow and ice are completely covering the pavement.
“We’re in for a long road,” Richmond District Engineer Rob Cary said in a news release. “The snow and wind gusts are causing near white-out conditions, which will continue to make plowing roads a challenge. It’s covering the pavement shortly after plows pass through.”
As a result, drivers who try to venture out will face heavy, drifting snow and drastically reduced visibility.
In fact, heavy snow increased in intensity Saturday afternoon and is pounding parts of the state making for extremely treacherous road conditions. The storm, which has impacted all regions of the Commonwealth, is expected to taper off at midnight.
Officials said around 9,500 VDOT and contract crews are using thousands of trucks, plows and spreaders around-the-clock to plow and treat roads.
"They are making continuous passes on major roads, interstates and primary roads, to keep them passable," VDOT officials said. "With snow falling at a rapid rate, snow accumulates quickly on the roads between plow passes."
Here's more important information from VDOT:
- Motorists are urged to stay off roads through the rest of today, tonight and tomorrow so crews can plow more quickly and get the roads in better shape. Tonight, visibility will be an issue with high winds and drifting snow.
- Even when the snow stops and the weather is expected to clear tomorrow, snow removal will be very extensive through the week.
- Interstate and primary roads are mostly in moderate condition (heavy snow pack), with the worst conditions from Richmond to Northern Virginia.
- Secondary roads and subdivision streets are in moderate to severe condition (heavy snow covered and could be partially blocked).
- If residents have a serious emergency (i.e. medical or fire), they should call 9-1-1 and VDOT will work in coordination with emergency responders to get them the help they need.
- During the height of the storm, crews are focused on plowing interstate and primary roads. Once the snow stops and the major roads are in better condition, then crews can focus more on secondary and subdivision streets. Crews are expected to make at least one pass on these roads early next week. Crews have been able to make some passes on many secondary roads this weekend. Even when subdivision streets are plowed, they will be snow and ice covered until the weather gets warm enough to help break up the snow and ice.