Cleanup underway after storm dumps snow in Va., Md.

WASHINGTON — Parts of the WTOP listening area are cleaning up after a storm dumped close to a foot of snow in Virginia and prompted school closings and delays in both Virginia and Maryland.

“We have seen a foot or more of snow across many parts of the commonwealth especially south of the I-64 corridor,” said Jeff Caldwell, director of external affairs for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.


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“The worst hit areas were along the I-81 corridor and along the North Carolina-Virginia border where we’ve seen snow upwards of a foot and have seen significant traffic snarl throughout the day.”

Closings and delays

More than a dozen schools in Southwest Virginia and Southern Maryland are closed and on delays Monday morning.

Prince William County government is on unscheduled leave, Stafford County government and courts are on a two-hour delay and the Marine Corps Base Quantico is opening at noon due to the storm’s impact. In Maryland, Charles County government and the District Court in Charles County are on delays for Monday.

Transportation impacts

While parts of Virginia saw snow, Virginia Railway Express is on regular service Monday day with platforms cleaned off from the storm.

The D.C. area may have been spared of snow, Amtrak canceled or modified some service through Tuesday, Dec. 11, due to the impact of a winter storm in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Monday, Dec. 10

  • The Crescent 19 (New York to New Orleans) is canceled.
  • The Silver Star 91 (New York to Miami) will operate from Jacksonville, Florida, to Miami.
  • Northeast Regional 176 (Roanoke, Virginia, to New York) will operate D.C. to New York.
  • The Cardinal 51 (New York to Chicago) will operate Indianapolis to Chicago.

Tuesday, Dec. 11

  • The Silver Star 91 (New York to Miami) will operate from Jacksonville, Florida, to Miami.

Cleanup and outages

The Virginia Department of Transportation notes that road cleanup continues with improvement in conditions as the morning is underway.

Caldwell notes that cleanup from traffic accidents and downed trees will continue throughout the day on Monday, encouraging those in the hardest hit areas to stay home if they can.

“The Virginia Department of Transportation continues 24-hour operations at this point and will continue to do so in order to try to get roadways clear overnight tonight and throughout the day tomorrow,” Caldwell said. “However, motorists can expect snow covered roadways throughout much of the state to continue throughout the day tomorrow and that is again why we are reminding motorists not to travel unless absolutely necessary in the portions of the state that were impacted by this storm.”

Those in the area can call 511 or visit 511virginia.org to check conditions in their area before hitting the roads.

More than 300,000 power outages were reported across the region with the majority of those – about 240,000 – in North Carolina, according to poweroutage.us. Parts of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia also saw outages.

“Dominion Virginia Power, Appalachian Power and the Electric Cooperative are working very diligently to try to get power restored to those customers that have had service interrupted,” Caldwell said. “A lot of the same roadway conditions and downed trees that have caused the power outages will need to be taken care of before power can be restored and to do that roadways will have to be cleared so we just ask for everyone’s patience and cooperation as local and state crews continue work to get the roadways open.”

Some parts of Northern Virginia, just south of the Capital Beltway, and parts of Southern Maryland, east of Interstate 95, received roughly 2 inches of snow starting late on Sunday afternoon. Toward Stafford and Fredericksburg, the snow totals were significantly greater, reaching 6 inches inches. The snow accumulated even more around Charlottesville, which received 11 inches.

Roads continue to pose threat

Police in North Carolina and Virginia said they’d responded to hundreds of snow-related traffic accidents as of Sunday afternoon, as cars, trucks and tractor-trailers all struggled with the snow and ice. Two Virginia state troopers’ vehicles were struck, although no one was injured.


Even in the area just outside of D.C., many drivers found driving to be difficult as the storm moved into the area around 5 p.m. The Maryland State police reported 47 crashes, 20 disabled vehicles and 306 service calls between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Virginia State police said Interstate 81 in far Southwest Virginia was particularly dangerous, with snow coming down faster Sunday afternoon than crews could clear it. Police said several tractor-trailers slid off the highway.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Ray Martin says that as the temperatures continue to drop in some areas impacted by the snow the most, there is a risk of icy roads for motorists.

“Areas that had the snow yesterday probably still have some snow covered roads and even areas that were plowed and treated may still be icy and slippery so definitely will need to be careful during the morning rush hour today until temperatures warm above freezing and we start to get widespread melting,” Martin said. “Even tonight and tomorrow areas that saw significant snow will still see icy patches most likely once temperatures drop below freezing tonight so that will be an additional concern tonight and again tomorrow morning.”

State of Emergency

The Virginia and North Carolina governors declared states of emergency, and asked their residents to be prepared for the possibility of more than a few days of slower travel and the possibility of power outages.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency to help agencies prepare for the storm expected to hit hardest in the state’s south.

“Virginians should take all necessary precautions to ensure they are prepared for winter weather storm impacts,” said Northam.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper also declared a state of emergency, and said Saturday that residents in some parts of the state should be ready for a lengthy fight with the storm, which was beginning to dump sleet and snow across its western mountain areas Saturday night.

“We’re preparing for days of impact, not hours,” Cooper said, urging caution. “This weekend isn’t the time to head out to see the winter wonderland. Stay safe where you are. Getting out on dangerous roads could put your life at risk.”

 


Current conditions


Forecast

Flurries to light snow possible for Southern Maryland and Northern Virginia on Sunday. North of D.C. should stay dry and cold. The storm will exit early Monday morning.

Sunday night: Snow moves out with temperatures in the low 30s.

Monday: Partly to mostly sunny. Highs in the low-to-mid 40s.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the low-to-mid 40s.

WTOP’s Zeke Hartner, Jennifer Ortiz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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