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Area begins to dig out from snowstorm

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Plowing on secondary roads underway

By Tom Wilmoth

SALEM DISTRICT: PLOWING ON SECONDARY ROADS AND NEIGHBORHOOD STREETS IS UNDERWAY

Warmer temperatures will help today but re-freezing remains concern tonight

SALEM – Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) equipment operators and contractors in western Virginia have made good progress on plowing and treating interstate and primary (those roads numbered 1-599) roads this morning. Plowing on secondary roads and neighborhood streets (those numbered 600 and above) is underway throughout the region.

 

Interstates 77, 81 and 581 are in minor condition, which means they are mostly clear with isolated slick spots. Drivers should use caution and watch for icy spots, especially on ramps and overpasses.

 

Most primary roads (those numbered 1-599) are also in minor condition, so drivers should expect slick spots.

 

Plowing on secondary roads and neighborhood streets will continue. Operators will make as much progress as possible today on these routes.    

 

Travelers are reminded that they can get real-time information on road conditions and traffic incidents on Virginia roads by using VDOT’s 511 free mobile app or the www.511Virginia.org website and phone system.

 

To report debris, downed trees or other hazards on the roadway, call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-367-ROAD (7623). Citizens should call 911 to report emergencies.

 

The Salem District includes the counties of Bedford, Botetourt, Carroll, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Henry, Montgomery, Patrick, Pulaski, and Roanoke.

SALEM – Equipment operators and contractors with the Virginia Department of Transportation continued to plow and treat interstate and primary roads overnight. Last night, additional snow fell in many areas covering roads again.

Crews are still plowing and treating roads in 12-hour shifts around the clock. Plowing is expected to begin today on neighborhood streets and low-volume secondary roads (those numbered 600 and above) throughout the region.

Today’s warmer temperatures should help with snow removal operations, but overnight refreezing remains a concern for the nights ahead. 

As of 4:30 a.m., motorists can expect the following road conditions for the 12-county Salem District:

Interstates 77, 81 and 581 range from minor to moderate with some sections icy or covered with frozen slush.

The primary roads (those numbered 1-599) range from minor to moderate. Slicks spots remain or portions of these roadways are covered slush and frozen snow. These roads in the New River Valley are still snow covered in many areas.

Low volume secondary roads and neighborhood streets remain in severe condition. This means they are covered in deep snow and most have not been plowed yet.

Travelers are reminded that they can get real-time information on road conditions and traffic incidents on Virginia roads by using VDOT’s 511 free mobile app or the www.511Virginia.org website and phone system.

To report debris, downed trees or other hazards on the roadway, call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-367-ROAD (7623). Citizens should call 911 to report emergencies.

The Salem District includes the counties of Bedford, Botetourt, Carroll, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Henry, Montgomery, Patrick, Pulaski, and Roanoke.

Appalachian Power Storm Response Update

Monday, December 10, 2018 – 11:30 a.m.

Situation

More than 25,000 Appalachian Power customers are without electric service as a result of a snow storm that blanketed parts of the company’s Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia service areas on December 9. As much as two feet of snow fell in some areas of Virginia.

The most damage and highest concentration of outages is in eastern Tennessee and parts of far southwest Virginia, where high moisture content in the snow weighed down trees and caused significant damage to electric facilities.

Outages are continuing to occur as heavy, wet snow continues to weigh down trees. This morning two substation outages caused outages to more than 2,000 customers in Dickenson and Wise counties.

Outages

More than 25,000 customers are currently without power, mostly in Tennessee and Virginia. Areas with more than 1,000 customers affected by the storm include:

 

Tennessee Counties

# of Customers Out

Sullivan

6,732

Hawkins

1,526

 

Virginia Counties

# of Customers Out

Scott

7,437

Dickenson

1,496

Russell

1,185

 Storm Response Efforts

More than 1,000 workers are working to help restore electric service. In addition to Appalachian Power employees and contractors, crews from utilities outside the company’s service area, including AEP Ohio, Indiana Michigan Power, First Energy and Dayton Power and Light, are also helping with the storm response.  

In many instances travel and access remains difficult in locations where damage needs assessed and repairs need made.

Restoration Estimates

In Hawkins, Sullivan and Washington counties in Tennessee and Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell and Washington counties in Virginia, we are still assessing damage and should be able to provide restoration estimates this evening.

In all other affected counties in Virginia, service should be restored by late tonight.

Safety Message

Heavy wet snow can cause many downed trees and power lines. Customers should treat all downed lines as live power lines and stay away from them. Never touch downed power lines or sparking equipment. Keep children and pets away from fallen lines and anything the lines may touch.

Additional safety tips are posted at https://www.appalachianpower.com/outages/faq/OutageSafetyTips.aspx.

For More Information

Customers who do not have power may check for updated restoration times and other information by:

•             Going to the outage map at www.AppalachianPower.com/outagemap

•             Downloading the Appalachian Power mobile app in Apple’s App Store or the Google Play store.

•             Signing up for outage alerts at www.appalachianpower.com/account/alerts/   

•             Calling the Appalachian Power customer center at 1-800-956-4237

Roadways treacherous for first responders

Two Virginia State Police troopers have been struck due to vehicles losing control on Virginia's slick highways. Since the Governor of Virginia declared a State of Emergency Saturday (Dec. 8), Virginians have been advised to avoid travel during the storm. Yet, Virginia State Police have responded statewide to more than a thousand traffic crashes and just shy of 1,150 disabled/stuck vehicles between 12:01 a.m. Sunday and 10 p.m Sunday (Dec. 9, 2018).

At 6:44 p.m. Sunday, a vehicle traveling north on Interstate 81 lost control at the 94 mile marker in Pulaski County and slammed into a trooper and his patrol vehicle. The trooper was seated inside his patrol car at the time of the crash. Fortunately, the trooper was not injured nor was the driver of the out-of-control vehicle.

On Sunday at approximately, 7:11 p.m., a Virginia State Police Trooper was stopped with his emergency equipment activated assisting a disabled vehicle on the left hand shoulder of southbound I-95, at the 89.6 mile marker in Hanover County.  A 2003 GMC Yukon traveling southbound lost control and struck the trooper's vehicle in the rear.  The trooper was sitting inside of his vehicle at the time of impact sustaining minor injuries and was transported to the hospital.  No other injuries were reported.  (The attached photos are the property of the Virginia State Police, which permits for their publication/broadcast.)

This is why the Virginia State Police is still advising folks to delay travel unless absolutely necessary. The highways are still slick and snow-covered. As the temperatures drop overnight, roadways will freeze and turn even more dangerous.  

As of 10 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 9), the Virginia State Police are responding to the following: 

 

Richmond Division:

16 Disabled Vehicles

25 Traffic Crashes

 

Culpeper Division: 

0 Disabled Vehicles

5 Traffic Crashes

 

Appomattox Division: 

13 Disabled Vehicles

3 Traffic Crash

 

Wytheville Division:

8 Disabled Vehicles

2 Traffic Crashes

 

Chesapeake Division:

3 Traffic Crashes

1 Disabled Vehicle

 

Salem Division: 

11 Disabled Vehicles

7 Traffic Crashes

 

Fairfax Division:

3 Disabled Vehicles

4 Traffic Crashes

 

The majority of the crashes continue to involve only damage to vehicles. There have been no reported fatal traffic crashes.