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Virginia State Police respond to 1,000+ crashes, disabled cars on snowy roads

Posted at 6:42 AM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 08:44:20-05

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Virginia State Police are busy Thursday morning responded to crashes along snowy and icy Virginia highways. Of the 33 crashes Virginia State Police are working statewide at 6 a.m. Thursday, 24 are in North Virginia where snow fell Wednesday. Of the 71 disabled vehicle calls statewide, 70 of them are in Northern Virginia.

"Virginia State Police troopers in Northern Virginia worked overnight moving as quickly as they could to investigate and clear crashes and disabled vehicles," Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said. "Troopers’ shifts were extended and troopers called out early in an attempt to keep up with the demand for calls for service."

One trooper investigating a crash on I-95 in Prince William County was struck by another vehicle that slid out of control. That trooper was not injured, Geller said.

From 12:00 a.m. Wednesday (Jan. 20) through 12:00 a.m. Thursday (Jan. 21), Virginia State Police responded to 767 traffic crashes statewide and 392 calls for disabled vehicles.

On Wednesday, the Fairfax Division responded to 123 traffic crashes and 110 disabled vehicles.
On Wednesday, the Salem Division responded to 228 traffic crashes and 41 disabled vehicles.

For comparison: From 12:00 a.m. Tuesday (Jan. 19) through 12 a.m. Wednesday (Jan. 20), Virginia State Police responded to a total of 200 traffic crashes statewide.

"The bulk of the crashes began in Southwest Virginia Wednesday morning due to the very first wave of snow coming through," Geller said. "The second wave then impacted Western Virginia along the I-81 corridor by mid-afternoon, and made its way to Northern Virginia by 5:30 p.m."

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State Police offered the following advice to drivers during this winter storm:

  • Clear off all snow from your vehicle – windows, roof, trunk and lights
  • Add extra time to reach travel destination
  • Slow speed for road conditions
  • Increase driving distances between vehicles for increased stopping distance
  • Buckle up and don’t drive distracted
  • MOVE OVER for all stopped emergency vehicles, highway vehicles and tow trucks.

"Motorists are also asked NOT to abandon their vehicles in the roadway as this causes even more delays and prevents VDOT trucks and other emergency vehicles from being able to move through the area," Geller said.

1 – 2 feet of snow predicted to fall in parts of Virginia

A winter storm watch is now in effect for most of Virginia ahead of the Friday and Saturday nor’easter. This watch will be converted to a winter storm warning sometime Thursday, with areas along the far southern and eastern edge converted to a winter weather advisory.

Snow will develop Friday morning and become heavy at times throughout the day.

Some sleet and freezing rain will mix into the region, mainly across far southeast Virginia, but even as far north and west as Richmond.

Most of the metro area will receive at least 8″ of total snow, with over a foot across northern and western sides of the metro. One to two feet of snow is likely across a wide swath of counties in central, western, and northern Virginia, with some locations receiving over two feet.

The snow will come to an end Saturday evening, with mostly sunny and cold conditions on Sunday.