Icy roads expected Thursday after area’s first winter storm

Snowy road

~ Press release issued by Virginia Department of Transportation

STAUNTON, Dec. 14 – Motorists should avoid all unnecessary travel due to freezing rain forecast for Thursday, Dec. 15. Rainfall is expected to start in the Shenandoah Valley and Alleghany Highlands on Wednesday evening, and transition to freezing rain and sleet during overnight hours. Hazardous conditions are likely during the Thursday morning commute.

About a quarter-inch of ice is anticipated for much of the region, with heavier ice accumulation in the northern Shenandoah Valley and higher elevations. Up to two inches of mixed precipitation is forecast through Thursday, so motorists should also be alert for ponding on roadways. Downed trees, branches and utility lines are possible due to strong and gusty winds.

Crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation are scheduled to begin winter-weather operations between 8 p.m. and midnight Wednesday night. They will spread salt and abrasives on roadways throughout the 11-county VDOT Staunton District to melt ice and improve traction. Interstates and other major highways will be treated first, followed by secondary roads and subdivision streets.

Those who must drive should use extreme caution and always wear a seatbelt. Bridges and overpasses freeze first, sometimes creating an icy glaze even when roadway approaches are just wet. VDOT advises motorists closely monitor weather forecasts, and postpone travel until air and road temperatures rise well above freezing.

Statewide road conditions and traffic cameras can be found at http://www.511Virginia.org, Roads with snow conditions will be marked minor, moderate, severe or closed.

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.

For a text listing of winter weather road conditions go to http://www.511Virginia.org and click “Text Views” on the orange bar across the top of the page. Then click on “Road Conditions Table” and use the pull-down box to select individual counties and cities.

On the go? Visit VDOT’s Free Virginia 511 Tools to get your 511 app for android or iOS. Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. 

The VDOT Customer Service Center can be accessed through its mobile friendly website at https://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).

The Staunton District Snow Page is on the VDOT website under Travel Center Snow Emergency Pages. The Staunton District Twitter feed is at @VaDOTStaunton

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