Snow Day Gone Wrong

Snow+Day+Gone+Wrong

The first snow of the season for Loudoun County kicked off in unexpected ways; not only were schools closed, but major highway I-95 was as well with a stretch of 40 miles blocked North and South.

What started out as rain Monday morning quickly turned to blankets of snow and ice as the temperatures continued to drop. It went on for about four hours and concluded with up to 11 inches covering the roadway.

Although the snow melted throughout the day, late-day temperatures cooled enough to refreeze any progress made. Motorists were stuck in their vehicles for up to 20 hours or more after a truck jackknifed, beginning a chain reaction of similar incidents.

Due to the heavy rain that preceded the blizzard, proper preparation was not conducted; in turn, road conditions worsened and delayed any and all of the proper response teams’ arrivals.

Despite the delays, Gov. Ralph Northam stated that his team worked with local officials through the night to set up warming shelters and issue emergency messages as needed. Officials also report that crews were helping to distribute food, fuel, and water.

. . . Gov. Ralph Northam stated that his team worked with local officials through the night to set up warming shelters and issue emergency messages as needed.”

However, the vast expanse of highway that was affected left many areas without help; fuel, food, and water draining as families adjusted to their situation. In areas such as these, able-bodied victims of the storm tried to assist others. Sen. Tim Kaine mentioned that while he was stranded, a family on their way home to Connecticut walked along the rows of cars to share a bag of oranges.

Mid-morning Tuesday, a tow truck appeared to clear a way for some vehicles to exit, including one driver who had been unable to exit their vehicle due to a sprained ankle. Over the course of the day, roadways were slowly and steadily being cleared, and neither injuries nor fatalities were reported throughout the process.

The major highway was reopened at 8:30 p.m, Tuesday night; 36 hours after the start of the snowstorm. To avoid future similar situations, VDOT Fredericksburg spokeswoman Kelly Hannon assures that they will take a thorough look at this incident.