VDOT prepared for severe weather potential across the state

Published 3:31 pm Monday, June 26, 2023

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The Virginia Department of Transportation is prepared to address the potential impacts of the forecasted severe weather expected this afternoon and into the evening.

At this time, forecasts indicate that heavy rain and wind gusts will arrive in the Commonwealth between 2 p.m. in western portions of Virginia to midnight in the eastern areas, with regions east of Interstate 81 experiencing the worst conditions.

Suffolk and the Western Tidewater region are currently under a flash flood watch and the National Weather Service warns that the severe weather could come with heavy rain, damaging winds, hail, and intense lightning, bringing 2 inches of rain or more in some isolated areas.

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Severe weather threats along and east of the I-95 Corridor could include wind gusts up to 75 mph, large hail and possible isolated tornadoes. 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.

The weather effects  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 will await the power company to remove any electrical hazard before addressing downed trees or other roadway debris.

“Whenever severe weather is expected, we partner with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Virginia State Police to coordinate efforts,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen C. Brich, P.E. “Teams throughout the Commonwealth are prepared to address impacts from this storm. We ask for the public’s assistance to remain safe and stay aware of changing weather and road conditions in their area and along their travel routes.”

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.