HAMPTON ROADS -- Virginia Department of Transportation crews began treating area interstates and primary routes in preparation for the wintry mix of sleet and snow that moved into the area Monday afternoon.
VDOT said crews will focus snow removal efforts on interstates and primary roads, and then plan to shift resources to secondary roads as conditions improve.
“If you can avoid unnecessary trips for the duration of this storm, you will make it safer for both yourself and our many VDOT operators clearing the roads so you can resume your travel once they are passable,” said VDOT Commissioner Charles Kilpatrick. “If you must travel and see a slow-moving plow or other equipment ahead, please slow down and pass it carefully where possible, because we want you and our employees to get home safely.”
VDOT Hampton Roads’ District has over 300 pieces of equipment for snow- and ice-control activities, and supplies have been replenished from earlier winter events, officials said.
In Chesapeake, crews loaded 20 salt trucks for this fourth winter storm. They didn't immediately salt the roads because rain hit before the snow.
“There’s no point in brining the roads when you’re going to get rain that washes it away,” said spokesman Heath Covey.
He says crews have more than enough sand-salt mixture to meet the needs of this storm and crews are working around the clock in 12-hour shifts to treat the roads.
“We have so many rural roads in Chesapeake, including many roads that are shady, so the snow melts and refreezes into dangerous ice,” Covey noted.
Since 2 p.m. Monday, police responded to 30 crashes on Chesapeake roads. In about half of those incidents, people were injured.
In Norfolk, 20 crews began treating nearly 50 bridges and overpasses Monday afternoon with a mix of salt and sand.
City spokeswoman Lori Crouch said supplies are fully stocked with 900 tons of salt and 500 tons of sand.
According to Crouch, once bridges and overpasses are treated, crews will being treating major intersections.
Dispatchers in Norfolk said they worked more than 50 accidents since 10:30 a.m.
"I just moved here from Florida about two years ago, so I'm still adjusting to the snow conditions and everything like that. This time of year really makes me want to go back to Florida," said Victoria Oprea, shortly after her SUV ran off Azalea Garden Road.
"I didn't see the ditch. I didn't see. I was trying to pull in the parking lot. I didn't see the ditch," explained Oprea. "It kind of just went in. I tried to reverse it out, and then pull it forward, and, just, nothing happened."
"Since about one o'clock, I've been pulling cars out of ditches, non-stop, one after another one," tow truck driver Ed Gilliam told 13News Now.
"All that rain and sleet was on the road and made ice, and, then, snow started piling on top of it, and you think you're okay until you hit the brakes, event four-wheel drive, any vehicle, because ice doesn't care if you're four-wheel drive," Gilliam noted.
Virginia Beach dispatch said they worked about 85 accidents since 10:30 a.m., Suffolk dispatchers said they had 44 and Newport News responded to 32.
Portsmouth officials said crews treated city bridges and overpasses ahead of the expected snow and ice.
Officials said they responded to 25 accidents in Portsmouth -- three with injuries.
In Hampton, it was sleeting in downtown just before noon. Plows were staged along I-664, at least three spaced every few miles apart. Also waiting in downtown were a city-owned dump truck loaded with sand and a spreader.
Dispatchers said there were about 28 accidents in Hampton since 10 a.m.
Crews at Dominion Power said they were on standby and ready to respond in case of power outages.