Treacherous travel conditions expected Thursday in the Shenandoah Valley
One of the largest winter storms to impact the Shenandoah Valley in several years is forecast to begin in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday.
The snow may be followed by a mix of snow, sleet and ice. Driving conditions are expected to be extremely treacherous and travel should be delayed during this storm. Snowfall rates could be one to two inches an hour, approaching whiteout conditions.
The Virginia Department of Transportation Staunton District performed brining operations on interstate and other high traffic roads on Wednesday. The Staunton District will have crews pre-staged during the night and will begin road clearing operations as soon as the winter weather arrives. There will be 900 pieces of equipment deployed within the district for snow and ice removal in addition to 1,400 people involved in snow removal operations.
Snow operations will be 24/7 with crews working 12-hour shifts. Heavy wreckers will also be staged along portions of Interstate 81 and Interstate 64. Additional contractor crews will be used for tree and branch removal from roadways resulting from ice and heavy snow.
VDOT first plows interstates, primary roads and major secondary roads with vital emergency and public facilities, or those with high traffic volumes. Secondary roads and subdivision streets are treated in the event of a multi-day storm, but crews focus initially on roadways that are traveled most.
Travelers can monitor road conditions on the VDOT 511 website at www.511Virginia.org. The 511 map can display road conditions, traffic cameras, road surface temperatures and more. Roads with snow and ice conditions will be marked minor, moderate, severe or closed. This information can also be accessed on the 511 app for android or iOS. Traffic alerts and traveler information can also be obtained by dialing 511.
To obtain a text listing of road conditions on www.511Virginia.org look at the orange bar on the top of the page and click on “Text Views” and then click on “Road Condition Table”. Look at the pull down box that lists all jurisdictions. In this box individual counties can be chosen to view.
Road condition definitions:
- Closed – Road is closed to all traffic.
- Severe – drifting or partially blocked road.
- Moderate – snow or ice on major portions of the roadway.
- Minor – bare pavement except for isolated spots of snow, ice or slush. Driving with caution is recommended.
The VDOT Customer Service Center can be accessed through its mobile friendly website at my.vdot.virginia.gov. Agents are on site 24/7 every day of the year to assist the public. People can also call the VDOT Customer Service Center at 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623).
VDOT statewide Twitter messages can be found at @VaDOT. The nine districts can be found at:Hampton Roads @VaDOTHR; Richmond @VaDOTRVA; Northern Virginia @VaDOTNOVA; Fredericksburg @VaDOTFred; Culpeper @VaDOTCulp; Lynchburg @VaDOTLynchburg; Bristol @VaDOTBristol; Salem @VaDOTSalem; Staunton @VaDOTStaunton.
The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties.