VDOT, AAA and Virginia State Police address public ahead of storm: ‘Stay home’

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — AAA, VDOT and Virginia State Police have been preparing all week for this weekend’s winter storm.

On Thursday afternoon, the agencies held a joint news conference with one serious message:

“Because the coming storm is expected to significantly effect your ability to travel, we’re asking the public to plan to stay home,” said Lindsay LeGrande with VDOT.

An important message that could have deadly consequences if not followed. The warning was even more dire from Virginia State Police as Wednesday night. When a light dusting of snow covered roads, two troopers were struck by cars while they were helping other stranded motorists.

“I urge and my message and you’ve heard it, stay home, stay home, stay home,” said Stephen Vick with the Virginia State Police.

Both troopers are expected to be ok, and the full state police force remains ready to respond.

“The Virginia State Police has put all of our troopers on standby, they are ready to be deployed anywhere in the state,” Vick added.

VDOT says they have been working around the clock in 12-hour shifts to prepare and treat roads with anti-icing liquids.

“VDOT is in go mode, for every 1000 crew members you see out on the roads there are 1500 people working on this behind the scenes,” LeGrande said.

And for them, a stranded car could mean roads won’t get plowed.

“We don’t want folks to be stranded, we don’t folks to be stuck out on the road because then we can’t work,” Legrande explained. “Give our crews room to work and stay home and stay safe.”

Most schools shut down already for Friday and school officials already looking to next week.

“If there’s any doubt that kids or adults are going to be put in harms way, then we’re going to make a decision that’s going to protect their safety,” said Andy Jenks with Henrico County Public Schools.

Check out our Winter Weather Central coverage section.

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