Snow brings treacherous road conditions

WASHINGTON — A winter storm blanketing parts of Virginia, Maryland and D.C. Saturday morning is causing a slew of traffic problems on roads across the region.

Officials are reporting multiple counts of traffic accidents, disabled vehicles and road closures throughout the greater D.C. metro area.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from 1 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday for D.C., Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Prince William, southern Fauquier, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, Charles, Stafford, King George, southeastern and central Montgomery and southeastern and central Howard Counties.

There’s a Winter Storm Warning in effect for Calvert County, Maryland; St. Mary’s County, Maryland, and parts of Northern Neck from 1 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

According to the National Weather Service, over 2 inches of snow had fallen in parts of St. Mary’s County and parts of Virginia including Albemarle and Augusta counties as of around 8 a.m.

Here’s a breakdown of major road incidents by region.

Virginia

In Virginia, road conditions remain treacherous, and officials advise residents to stay off the roads.

From midnight Saturday through noon Saturday, authorities said, state police have responded to 325 traffic crashes and 322 disabled vehicles statewide. During that same period, state police received 1,124 calls for service.

As of 11:45 a.m., Virginia troopers were still on the scene of 37 traffic crashes and 35 disabled vehicles.

The central Virginia, Hampton Roads and Southside Virginia regions continued to be the busiest for Virginia State Police troopers’ calls for service Saturday. Fortunately, the majority of crashes have involved only vehicle damage, and there were no reported fatalities.

The Virginia Department of Transportation urged people to stay off the roads so crews could remove snow and ice. Officials hope “to make all roads passable 48 hours after a winter storm ends.”

For updates on Virginia roads, visit VDOT’s website here.

VDOT coverage extends to 57,867 miles of state-maintained roads across 9 districts, which they treated with more than 1.6 million gallons of liquid calcium chloride and salt brine, as well as 652, 659 tons of abrasives before the weekend storm.

Maryland

Officials reported snow emergency plans in effect in Somerset, Wilcomico and Wocester counties.

The Maryland Department of Transportation reported dense fog around the Bay Bridge area, and cautioned drivers to use low beams and slow speeds.

NBC 4 Meteorologist Mike Stinneford told WTOP that most of the snow was falling above southern Maryland as of 9:21 a.m.

“The heaviest amounts have been over our southern suburbs, with southern Maryland and the Fredericksburg vicinity reporting the greatest amounts of accumulation,” Stinneford said. “Keep in mind that with the very cold temperatures we are experiencing that even a small amount of snow will make roads slick.”

WTOP’s Dennis Foley said roads in Cavert County were “slick” and covered in a slush, causing difficult driving conditions.

MDOT’s latest traffic incidents include a single-vehicle crash on the Outer Loop of Interstate 695 at Exit 24, which was reported around 9 a.m., and a single-vehicle crash on Route 50 East in Prince George’s County. More MDOT reports can be found here.

D.C.

D.C. Department of Transportation reported “full deployment” of more than “230 snow plows for 12 hours or longer,” using a “hot mix of brine and beet juice” to pre-treat major streets and highways.

The District also activated a Cold Emergency Plan on Friday, and will activate a Cold Emergency Alert at 7 p.m. Saturday until 7 a.m. Monday, Jan 9.

This plan is enacted the D.C. government determines the weather to present a danger to local residents, especially to those experiencing homelessness.

Cold Emergency Alerts provide services including:

  • Access to emergency shelter
  • Access to overnight warming sites; designated public buildings may open during the day or overnight. Contact the Shelter Hotline at 202-399-7093 for locations and transportation.
  • Transportation to warmth and safety. Anyone can receive free transportation to an emergency center or warming site by contacting the Shelter Hotline, or calling 311. Include the time, address or location of the person in need of a pick up and a description of the person’s appearance.
  • Families in need of emergency shelter can visit the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center at 920 Rhode Island Avenue NE Monday through Thursday between 8 s.m. and 4:30 p.m.


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