Northam declares state of emergency in Va. ahead of winter storm

A state of emergency has been declared in Virginia Wednesday as a second winter storm remains poised to dump more snow just as the D.C. region is still recovering with the aftereffects of a storm Monday, which left more than a foot of snow in some places and stranded drivers for hours in traffic.

Gov. Ralph Northam said the storm — which is expected to hit the D.C. region Thursday night into Friday morning and bring 1 to 4 inches of snow in some places — will exacerbate the problems remaining from the previous storm.

Some areas are still without power after the storm brought trees down on power lines. Northam said the state of emergency was necessary because of how soon this storm comes on the heels of the first.

“Having two bouts of snow and icy weather back-to-back makes it more likely communities will need additional help as they continue to recover from the first round of tree-snapping wet snow and ice that we saw Monday,” Northam said. “While we typically have ample resources for snow storms, these back-to-back events will generate landmark winter weather that requires extra flexibility.”

The state of emergency allows heads of executive branch agencies to more easily enter into contracts for services without going through the normal procedures required by the state. Waivers issued by those agencies will be posted on their websites.

On Wednesday, the Virginia Department of Transportation warned drivers to remain cautious on roadways — if they absolutely must travel — as the second storm system approaches.

VDOT said crews are still working in 12-hour shifts to clear primary and secondary roads, two days after the snowstorm that left drivers from Richmond to D.C. stranded on Interstate 95 — some for more than 24 hours.

The department asked that motorists avoid nonessential travel and to be extremely cautious if they do head out onto the roads, as black ice and generally slick conditions could plague many of the roads in Virginia.

For the latest road and traffic conditions, see WTOP’s traffic page or listen to updates every 10 minutes online or on the air at 103.5 FM. Submit traffic tips by calling 866-304-WTOP or tagging @WTOPtraffic on Twitter.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

A winter wonderland in the D.C. area. (Courtesy of Conner Prochaska)
St. Anselms Abbey DC snow. (Courtesy of Mike Simo)
St. Anselms Abbey DC snow. (Courtesy of Mike Simo)
A beautiful snow covered puppy enjoying the winter weather. (Courtesy of Courtney Linkous)
This is Mason Flaherty enjoying sledding in the snow. (Courtesy of Bradley Jones)
From the Widewater area of North Stafford. (Courtesy of Nancy Sullivan)
A snowy start to the new year here at the White House. (Courtesy of the White House)
A sunset view of snow and waterways in the region. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Winter storm clouds moving through Reston, Virginia. (WTOP/Will Vitka)
The Lincoln Memorial stands on the opposite end of the reflecting pool in this snowy scene. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)
A nice white coat covers the World War II memorial on the National Mall. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)
A few residents make use of the thick snow to assemble a snow man on the National Mall. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)
The Washington Monument looks down on the snow-covered ground at its base. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)
Snow coats Northwest D.C. (WTOP/Rick Massimo)
Snow coats Northwest D.C. (WTOP/Rick Massimo)
Snow lines the streets in Bethesda, Maryland. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Snow blankets Chevy Chase, Maryland. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)
Snow and ice drape the trees in Prince George’s County, Maryland. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)
The U.S. Capitol is shrouded in snow Monday. (WTOP/Zeke Hartner)
The Capitol gets a dose of snow. (WTOP/Mitchell Miller)
Chevy Chase in the snow. (WTOP/Jacob Kerr)
Mile 1 on Route 5. “Stay home.” (Courtesy Marcel Westney)
The roads in Rockville, Maryland, have seen their share of snow. (WTOP/Craig Schwalb)
Dogs still have to have their walks, even on snow days. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
A plow travels along Wisconsin Avenue on Monday morning. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
Heading out on the snowy sidewalks in Northwest D.C. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
A fox plays with a dog toy during snowfall in McLean, Virginia. (Courtesy Kathleen Kline Moore)
In Waldorf, Maryland, a freshly plowed parking lot is already getting recovered in snow. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)
polar bear and penguin inflatables
Snow made a winter wonderland for some holiday inflatables that are still up in Alexandria, Virginia, on Jan. 3. (Courtesy Ed Kelleher)
Southeast D.C. is getting its fair share of snow. (WTOP/Sarah Beth Hensley)
Southeast D.C. is getting its fair share of snow. (WTOP/Sarah Beth Hensley)
There’s a soccer field somewhere behind the trees in Reston, Virginia, where the snow gets heavier and heavier. (WTOP/Will Vitka)
Heavy snow, low visibility on Route 15 in Prince William County in Virginia, near Haymarket. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
Route 15 approaches white-out conditions in Virginia’s Prince William County. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
The season’s first snowfall is making itself known in Annapolis, Maryland. (WTOP/Chris Roth)
Snow piles up on the road on U.S. 301 in Brandywine. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)
Snow starts to pile up in southern Prince George’s County, Maryland. (WTOP/Luke Lukert)
A plow gets ready in Bowie, Maryland.  (WTOP/Luke Lukert)
polar bear and penguin inflatables
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