VDOT prepares for wintry weather overnight into Friday

Winter Weather storm Oklahoma
Posted at 6:41 PM, Jan 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 00:01:07-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – Crews with the Virginia Department of Transportation have been preparing for days for the wintry weather expected on the Peninsula overnight into Friday.

“I’m not too concerned about the weather that they say is coming,” said Jenifier Perry of Newport News. “Normally it lasts for a day and it melts the next day.”

Greg Walton of Williamsburg also isn’t worried about any snow that could roll through Hampton Roads.

“We’re looking at another winter storm, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to do much here,” Walton said.

The brunt of the wintry blast is expected to hit the western and central part of the state.

Most of Hampton Roads won’t see any snow, but there is a chance for black ice mainly in areas that see a dusting of the white stuff overnight.

Holly Dalby, the public affairs director for AAA Tidewater Virginia, says if you do drive over black ice, don’t slam on the brakes.

“When it's raining, snowing, sleeting, you need to slow down,” she said. “If you find yourself in a skid, you want to back off of the accelerator and then turn the wheel and look in the direction you want to go. Most people, your immediate reaction is to slam on the brakes and perhaps jerk the wheel, but that's only going to make the skid worse.”

AAA advises drivers to have an emergency kit in your car with jumper cables, an ice scraper, blankets, a phone charger and some water and snacks.

VDOT officials says they are working with a smaller crew but have enough equipment and are ready to tackle any dicey weather.

Bill Collier, the District Maintenance Manager for VDOT’s Hampton Roads District, said they have 75 plow trucks ready to hit the roads if necessary, so drivers don’t get stranded on the interstate like they did on I-95 in the Fredericksburg area earlier this week.

According to VDOT officials, the gates at the end of ramps are used for hurricane evacuations not to close the highways for extreme weather.

“They’re not necessarily used for closing the roadway,” Collier said. “To close the roadway is a state police decision.”

Meantime, soldiers and airmen with the Virginia National Guard are also on standby. They’re already on the move heading southwest to help with the impending snow expected there. The National Guard is equipped with chain saws to clear potential debris and fallen trees blocking roads.

But for some locals, including Jenifier Perry, it’s just another day.

“I’m actually from Western New York, so the snow that we get in overabundance up there is nothing compared to the little bit of snow that they’re going to get here,” Perry said.

News 3 spoke with Perry as she was walking out of the grocery store and asked if she was stocking up on food and other items.

“Nope,” Perry laughed. “I got my car oil, and that’s about it.”

Related: Gov. Northam declares state of emergency in Virginia in advance of second winter storm