Virginia DOT Prepared for Hurricane Florence
RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is prepared to keep Virginia roads safe ahead of forecasted effects of Hurricane Florence. Crews across the state stand prepared to respond to any unsafe traveling conditions and damage resulting from the storm.
While the hurricane’s exact track remains uncertain, heavy rain is expected to move into most of Virginia late Thursday, Sept. 13, with impacts expected into Friday and the weekend. Ahead of the storm, VDOT staff and crews are:
- readying trucks and equipment
- inspecting drainage facilities and clearing them, where necessary
- planning for staff augmentation of Safety Service Patrols and Traffic Operations Centers for additional traffic monitoring, emergency response capabilities and assisting motorists in distress along major routes
- lifting lane closures, where possible, on major routes to keep roads clear for emergency responders and possible evacuations
- notifying additional debris/tree removal crews to be on standby once the storm’s effects begin
“VDOT is in full preparation mode and we encourage the public to do the same. Prepare now for difficult or limited travel later this week,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen C. Brich. “VDOT is making every effort to keep the roads open and safe for travel ahead of the storm. Pay close attention to local forecasts and announcements from emergency officials to best plan travel and stay safe on the roads.”
VDOT is working closely with local and state partners at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Virginia State Police ahead of the storm to plan and coordinate emergency response. VDOT is also coordinating with utility companies statewide in advance of potential downed power lines.
- Gather needed items for emergency kits for your home and vehicle. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has tips for what to include to prepare your family, home and pets: https://www.vaemergency.gov/emergency-kit/
- Clear any debris from drainage facilities on your property to prepare for heavy rains. Learn more about drainage in your neighborhood: http://www.virginiadot.org/info/drainage_on_virginia’s_roads.asp
- Get your vehicle road-ready; it should be safe, operable and fueled up for potentially long travel in the event of an evacuation.
Motorists are encouraged to monitor weather reports and road conditions before traveling and take the following precautions:
- If a traffic signal is out, drivers are advised to treat the intersection as a four way stop.
- Never drive through water flowing across a road. It takes only six to 12 inches of water to float a small vehicle.
- Never drive around barricades. Remember, the road has been closed for your safety.
- Slow down when driving through standing water. Driving too fast through water could cause you to lose control and hydroplane.
- Avoid flood-prone areas, especially along creeks and other low-lying areas. Water in those areas can rise quickly and without warning during heavy rains.
- In the event of a flash flood warning for your area, seek high ground immediately.
- Watch for debris on the roadway. If you encounter a downed power line, do not try to move the line. Downed trees may contain power lines. Contact VDOT or Dominion Virginia Power.
- Get the latest road conditions – call 511, go to 511virginia.org or download the mobile app at the 511 web site.
- Report downed trees, hazardous road conditions or talk to a customer service representative – call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623).
- Prepare for the storm and find out about other VDOT hurricane preparedness efforts – visit VDOT.Virginia.gov
- Statewide traffic information is also available on Twitter @511statewideVA. For general VDOT information, follow @VaDOT.
- VDOT’s Facebook page will also be updated throughout the storm. https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaDOT