State agencies make preparations ahead of expected storm.
In advance of the winter storm headed for Virginia this weekend, Gov. Ralph Northam has placed state agencies — including transportation, emergency management and state police — on alert.
The storm system could result in widespread power outages and dangerous road conditions across the state, Northam said in a prepared statement.
Shannon Valentine, the state’s secretary of transportation, said in the statement that the Virginia Department of Transportation “has taken measures to pre-treat roads and prepare equipment, crews and materials ahead of the storm. Safety is our top priority. Driving conditions are expected to be hazardous, and motorists are urged to stay off the roads until the storm passes and road conditions are improved.”
VDOT has been pre-treating the roads with a mixture of salt and water in the Richmond area since Thursday and will continue to do so through Saturday. Once precipitation falls, the roads will be treated with salt.
For the upcoming snow season, VDOT crews are equipped with more than 100,000 tons of salt, sand and abrasives. When there is 2 to 4 inches of snow, the goal is to have one passable lane on all roads 24 hours after a storm ends.
Dominion Energy does not anticipate widespread power outages with this storm in the Richmond area, but the company will have crews and contractors on standby ready to respond.
“The forecast is for a dry snow, which typically does not cause major outages,” said Le-Ha Anderson, a spokeswoman for Dominion Energy.
The city of Richmond’s cold weather overflow shelter at 1400 Oliver Hill Way will be open Saturday at 7 p.m. until Monday at 10 a.m.
Also, the New Kent County Sheriff’s Office announced that the Providence Forge Christmas Parade scheduled for Sunday has been canceled.
Here are some other travel and storm preparation tips to follow:
♦ For information about road and traffic conditions, check www.511virginia.org or call 511 before traveling.
♦ VDOT has a tracker with which viewers can track snowplow activity at www.vdotplows.org. The Snow Plow Tracker will be activated if snow accumulations reach 2 inches or more.
♦ Make sure to have water and nonperishable food items available to sustain yourself and your family for three days in the event of major power outages and road closures.
♦ Motorists are strongly encouraged to stay off the roads during the storm.
♦ To report power outages to Dominion Energy, visit DominionEnergy.com and check the map for updates. Stay clear of downed lines and call (866) 366-4357 to report them.
VDOT has a tracker with which viewers can track snowplow activity at www.vdotplows.org.