Winter storm bears down on much of Virginia

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 3, 2014 at 3:07 pm •  Published: March 3, 2014

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — An expansive winter storm that stretched from the mountains to the coast caused numerous closures, flight cancellations and one traffic-related fatality in Virginia on Monday.

A driver who was not wearing a seat belt was killed when he lost control of his pickup truck and ran off an ice- and snow-covered road in Amelia County, according to Virginia State Police.

Virginia State Police troopers responded to more than 800 traffic crashes and more than 300 disabled vehicles across the state between 12:00 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday, with nearly half of those crashes occurring in the Richmond area. Local authorities also were responding to accidents as road conditions worsened throughout the day.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency so state agencies could assist local governments in responding to the storm, which covered most of the state. More than 70 Virginia National Guard soldiers were staged at readiness centers along the northern Interstate 81 corridor in case they're needed.

The National Weather Service said snow accumulations could range from 2 inches to 4 inches in the southern parts of the state and Hampton Roads to between 8 inches and 10 inches in northern Virginia. Airports in Roanoke, Richmond, Newport News and Norfolk reported numerous cancellations and delays.

In central Virginia, the 18-mile morning commute from Glen Allen to Carmel Church turned into an all-morning ordeal for Bill Painter, store director for Flying J Travel Plaza along Interstate 95 between Richmond and Fredericksburg.

Painter, a native of Massachusetts, said he left home at 9 a.m. Monday but didn't make it to work until 12:45 p.m.

"It was pretty rough, everyone was going real slow and it was real slushy," Painter said, recounting several vehicles running off the road, including a truck carrying live hogs.

"I've driven in snowy conditions my entire life and I've never been scared until I'd driven in Virginia."

The nearly 275 trucks parked outside the truck stop wasn't out of the ordinary, but Painter expected those numbers to rise with temperatures forecast to drop to the low teens by sundown.

In southeast Virginia, the Navy told thousands of sailors and civilians at its installations to head home early before the storm struck and to come in two hours later than normal on Tuesday. Fort Eustis in Newport News and Langley Air Force Base in Hampton were only open to mission-essential personnel. Many local government offices, colleges and school systems were also closing early, as were many businesses and areas popular with tourists, such as Colonial Williamsburg.

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