RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Department of Transportation is preparing ahead of effects from Tropical Storm Michael and they are asking motorists to do the same.
VDOT says crews have cleared drainage facilities, prepared trucks, equipment and coordinating crews to be on standby for debris and tree removal. Officials say they are ready to respond to any unsafe travel conditions or damage resulting from Tropical Storm Michael.
A Tornado Watch in effect for Central Virginia until 9:15 p.m. There is a threat for heavy rain, gusty winds and some tornadoes in the area Thursday afternoon into Thursday night. Heavy rainfall will spread across the state during the afternoon and evening. Rainfall will be torrential, with over 1″ possible in under an hour. Total rainfall could exceed 5″ in some locations.
The storm could cause downed trees, debris in roadways and high water.
Due to the anticipated effects of the storm, VDOT is advising travelers to plan ahead for changing road conditions, and adjust travel, as needed.
VDOT offered these travel tips:
- If a traffic signal is out, drivers are advised to treat the intersection as a four way stop.
- Never drive through water flowing across a road. It takes only six to 12 inches of water to float a small vehicle.
- Never drive around barricades. Remember, the road has been closed for your safety.
- Slow down when driving through standing water. Driving too fast through water could cause you to lose control and hydroplane.
- Avoid flood-prone areas, especially along creeks and other low-lying areas. Water in those areas can rise quickly and without warning during heavy rains.
- In the event of a flash flood warning for your area, seek high ground immediately.
- Watch for debris on the roadway. If you encounter a downed power line, do not try to move the line. Downed trees may contain power lines. Contact VDOT or Dominion Virginia Power.
- If involved in a life-threatening emergency, call 911.
- Get the latest road conditions – call 511, go to http://www.511virginia.org or download the mobile app at the 511 web site.
- Report downed trees, hazardous road conditions or talk to a customer service representative – call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623).
- Prepare for the storm and find out about other VDOT storm preparedness efforts – visit http://www.VirginiaDOT.org.
- Traffic information is also available on Twitter @511statewideVA. For general VDOT information, follow @VaDOT.
- VDOT’s Facebook page will also be updated throughout the storm. https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaDOT