The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is prepared to address the potential impacts of the forecasted severe weather expected this afternoon and into the evening.
At this time, forecasts show a line of strong, severe storms that will reach the Commonwealth around 3 p.m. today and move west to east. Damaging winds are a threat, with expected widespread damaging gusts up to 80 mph possible in the central and western areas, with gusts around 60-70 mph for most eastern areas. Intense rainfall could cause localized flooding. Additionally, large hail and brief spin-up tornadoes may be possible in the line of storms.
The safety of the traveling public and our crews is VDOT’s top priority. As forecasts and conditions could change, travelers should pay close attention to local weather reports and announcements from officials and limit their travels based on conditions.
This severe weather system may cause downed trees, power lines and other debris, as well as flooding that will make roadways extremely hazardous or impassable. Stay away from downed wires and do not approach or touch trees or limbs that are entangled with wires as they could be extremely dangerous. If those are in state maintained roadways, VDOT crews must await the power company to remove any electrical hazard before addressing downed trees or other roadway debris.
Travelers should use extreme caution on roadways:
Obey all “road closed” signage.
“Turn around, don’t drown” - Do not attempt to travel through flooded roadways. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the primary causes of flood-related deaths occur to individuals driving into or walking in or near flood waters.
- 6 inches of flood water is enough to knock an adult off of their feet
- 12 inches can move most cars
- 18-24 inches can carry away most large SUVs, vans and trucks
Be alert to debris, downed trees and power lines.
Move over for emergency crews operating in or near roadways.
Be alert to High Wind Advisories, especially on bridges or taller structures. High-profile vehicles such as tractor trailers, SUVs or box trucks are especially vulnerable and should not cross a bridge when a High Wind Advisory is posted.
Prior to travel, the public should check road conditions by calling 511, visiting www.511Virginia.org or checking the 511 Virginia mobile app.
The public should report any problems such as flooding, downed trees or road hazards to VDOT’s 24-hour Customer Service Center by visiting my.vdot.virginia.gov or call 800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623).
For more information about VDOT, including safety information and travel alerts, visit www.virginiadot.org.