(WFXR) — Another winter storm is rolling through Virginia on Friday and Saturday, exposing the entire Commonwealth to dangerously cold temperatures through the weekend. Both law enforcement officers and local governments urge community members to prepare yourself, your vehicle, and your home for the severe cold.
Shortly after 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28, Virginia State Police announced they are strategically staging personnel in areas that will see the most snow, such as the Eastern Shore, which is under a blizzard warning, and other coastal regions.
However, all available troopers will still be on patrol throughout the Commonwealth in order to respond as quickly as possible to traffic crashes, emergencies, and disabled motorists during this round of winter weather.
According to authorities, the wind chill on Saturday, Jan. 29 will drop temperatures across southwest Virginia and the entire I-81 corridor into negative and single digits.
In addition, the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) Lynchburg District is expected to receive up to two inches of snow — or possibly more — on Friday night and into Saturday morning. Even though this is not a heavy snowfall, roads could be slick and icy overnight.
Police encourage people to delay or avoid travel during the storm. If you must travel, though, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
- Check Virginia road conditions at www.511virginia.org or on the VDOT 511 app before you head out.
- Clear all snow and ice from the roof, trunk, hood and windows of your vehicle before you travel.
- Drive for conditions, so slow your speed, increase the distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you
- Always buckle up and avoid distractions, like your phone.
- Use your headlights in rain and snow. After all, Virginia law requires you to have your headlights on when your wipers are active.
- Do not call 911 or #77 for road conditions. These emergency lines need to be kept open for emergencies.
- Assemble or update your vehicle emergency kit with items such as jumper cables, a phone charger, cat litter or sand for traction, a blanket, flares or reflective triangles, a first aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, non-perishable snacks, water, and medications.
- Make sure your vehicle has a fuel tank of gas, and is in good working condition.
Meanwhile, with temperatures and wind chill factors approaching the single digits, officials warn that hypothermia and frostbite are real possibilities, especially when spending time outdoors. Therefore the City of Lynchburg shared several other ways to protect yourself against bitterly cold weather:
- Limit your time outdoors.
- Wear appropriate clothing like gloves/mittens, hats, scarves, and snow boots.
- Dress in several layers of loose-fitting clothing, making sure to cover your face and mouth if possible.
- Stay dry. If you become wet, though, head indoors and remove any wet clothing immediately.
- Make sure pets are protected because many of them are not equipped to endure extreme weather conditions.
- Bring outdoor pets inside, even if it’s a shed or a garage, and provide them with a warm sleeping place and plenty of food and water.
- Exercise caution when using an alternate heating source like space heaters and fireplaces.
- Never leave heaters unattended and keep all flammable materials away from them.
- Check on elderly neighbors and relatives and those who might not be able to care for themselves.
- Assemble or update your home emergency kit.
- Some of the items should include at least a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food, medications needed for your family and pets, a battery powered radio, a flashlight with extra batteries, blankets, and a first aid kit.
For more information on various localities’ current preparations and other important information about responding to winter weather, follow the links below:
You can also check out other life-saving guidance involving winter storms, by visiting https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather or https://www.vaemergency.gov/threats/winter-weather.