RELEASE:

CONTACT:
IMMEDIATE

Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
Lou.Hatter@vdot.virginia.gov
540-717-2890
CULP 2009-025

March 1, 2009



MOTORISTS SHOULD USE CAUTION SUNDAY EVENING AND MONDAY
Snow, high winds, sub-freezing temperatures combine to create hazardous driving conditions

CULPEPER — The Virginia Department of Transportation is reporting a mix of rain, sleet and snow falling across Central Virginia at this hour but so far the precipitation has not affected travel in this area. Roads are wet but no snow or ice is reported with the exception of Fauquier County and Rappahannock County, where patches of snow and slush are reported on secondary roads.

Significant snow is still forecast to fall Sunday evening and continue into Monday morning, with accumulations of six or more inches expected. Anyone contemplating travel during the storm should anticipate hazardous driving conditions. Strong winds are forecast to develop Sunday evening and continue through Monday so blowing and drifting snow may add to the hazard faced by travelers.

VDOT crews will continue working overnight to respond to the winter storm as it develops. Crews will concentrate first on interstate and primary highways, working to clear them of snow and ice. Once those roads are in good condition the crews will shift to the local secondary road system and clear those roads.

Temperatures are forecast to fall below freezing across Central Virginia on Sunday evening. Motorists who must travel overnight should be aware of the possibility of freezing conditions and black ice during the night and early morning hours, particularly on bridges and overpasses, entrance and exit ramps and crossovers as well as roads at higher elevations.
 
Motorists are advised to keep aware of local weather forecasts as well as road conditions throughout the storm, especially Sunday evening and during the early morning hours of Monday. If a significant winter storm develops motorists should avoid all non-essential travel until the weather improves. VDOT offers the following tips for driving in winter weather:

• Before you begin your trip, know the current road conditions and weather forecasts.
Call 511 or visit www.511Virginia.org.
• Make sure your windows, mirrors and lights are clear of ice and snow.
• Always wear your seat belt.
• Allow extra time to travel to your destination.
• Be aware of potentially icy areas such as bridges, overpasses and shady spots. Also, if there is heavy snow, ice or high winds, be alert to potential driving hazards including downed branches, trees and electric lines.
• Reduce speed as appropriate and keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and snowplows.
• Do not pass a snowplow unless it is absolutely necessary. Remember, the plow is clearing a path for you.
• Keep an emergency winter driving kit in your car. The kit should include a small bag of rock salt, sand or cat litter to provide traction in case you get stuck, a snowbrush and ice scraper, a flashlight, battery booster cables, a blanket and extra clothing.
• Practice common sense. Remember that your car cannot start, stop, or turn as quickly and surely on snow or ice as it does on dry pavement, so think and drive accordingly.

Information about preparing for winter weather and other emergencies can be found at www.ReadyVirginia.gov. The National Weather Service, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Social Services and other state agencies have created the Ready Virginia resource to provide residents with a one-stop shop for emergency preparedness tips and information.

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