RELEASE:

CONTACT:
IMMEDIATE

Jeanene Harris 703-259-2420
571-249-9704 Jeanene.Harris@vdot.virginia.gov
Michelle Holland 703-259-3378
703-586-0487 Michelle.Holland@vdot.virginia.gov
NR15-128

Oct. 1, 2015



N. VA VDOT CREWS ON-ALERT, CHECKING DRAINS, AND MAKING PREPARATIONS FOR THE COMING STORM
More than 500 crewmembers plus 300 contract employees ready to clear roads from expected heavy rains, fallen trees and other debris

FAIRFAX—The Virginia Department of Transportation urges motorists to plan for difficult travel and prepare for hurricane-like impacts. VDOT is monitoring two separate weather events: heavy rains, potential flooding and strong winds are forecasted to impact the state Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 1 – 3. Additionally, Hurricane Joaquin could impact Virginia Sunday and Monday, Oct. 3 – 4.

“We ask drivers to monitor weather reports, road conditions, and to use extreme caution if they must drive,” said Branco Vlacich, VDOT assistant district administrator for maintenance. “We have placed tree crews on standby, bringing in additional tree contractors and coordinating with Dominion on responses and priorities.”

High winds combined with soaked conditions will weaken trees, causing downed trees and limbs to block roadways Crews will first clear roads that provide access to hospitals and emergency facilities, followed by interstates and major primaries. Once those roads are cleared, they will focus the secondary system.

The key challenge is road flooding since heavy rains have already drenched the state. Already saturated soil means a greater concern for more flooding with the forecasted weather events. Additional rain fall will tend to pond on roads, which is expected to worsen from the impacts of Hurricane Joaquin on Sunday.

Statewide, VDOT Crews are Monitoring the Weather

VDOT crews stand ready across the state to respond to any unsafe traveling conditions and damage resulting from forecasted heavy rainfall and the impacts from Hurricane Joaquin.

Governor McAuliffe declared a State of Emergency Wednesday afternoon, which allows state agencies to bypass some time-consuming paperwork and procedures in the interest of quickly getting assistance to local governments and, in turn, to residents of the Commonwealth.

The Virginia Emergency Support Team has been activated and will provide 24 hour coverage into the foreseeable future. State emergency managers are in contact with local emergency managers and the processes are in place to communicate through email and conference calls.

Additionally, State officials are maintaining situational awareness and passing information between the governor’s office, state agencies and local government.

VDOT reminds drivers to not drive into flooded areas. If your vehicle becomes surrounded by rising water, get out quickly and move to higher ground, if possible, and:

  • Check www.511virginia.org for road conditions before heading out
  • Slow down and allow for extra time to reach your destination
  • Call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD to report hazardous road conditions or need to speak with a customer service representative
  • Download the free Ready Virginia app for iPhone® and Android™, which features a customizable emergency plan, a checklist for gathering emergency supplies and an “I’m Safe!” feature that allows you to quickly send a text message to let family and friends know you are safe.
  • Get more flood preparedness information at www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stayinformed/floods

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Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Oct. 1, 2015