A massive winter storm left many southern U.S. states coated in ice, knocking power to over 500,000 in the process, while dumping anywhere from six inches to a foot of snow up through the Northeast; scrambling highway and railroad networks across much of the East Coast.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) reported that as of this morning light snow is falling in some counties in the upstate and rain/freezing rain in the central/lower areas of the state.
Most counties, with the exception of coastal areas and the southern part of District Seven, are reporting that roads and bridges are covered with snow and ice, SCDOT said, with the agency’s over 1,400 snow removal personnel deployed in all districts except District 6 continue plowing interstates and primary routes with all available snow plows.
With SCDOT said interstate conditions are passable, primary and secondary roads in much of the state remain covered with significant amounts snow and ice while fallen trees are posing a significant problem, especially in District 7. The agency added its crews plan to work continuously on rotating 12-hour shifts applying salt and other anti-icing/deicing materials.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) said it deployed its “full complement” of snow removal assets today across the Commonwealth, with the agency’s 2,500 crewmembers in addition to hired contractors treating roads and/or plowing snow across the state using over 12,300 pieces of equipment, including trucks and plows.
VDOT said crews are clearing interstate and primary roads first because they have the highest traffic volumes, with crews in northern Virginia working on high‐volume roads and in subdivisions concurrently. The agency added that roads right now are mostly in moderate condition, with snow covering a major portion of the pavement.
Maryland’s State Highway Administration (SHA) rolled out a new upgrade for its 511 travel information service specifically targeted for trucking companies ahead of Winter Storm Pax.
The Maryland 511 system now features a “Commercial Vehicle Operator” section designed so truckers can customize 511 accounts specifically for commercial trips so as to include multiple stops along a delivery route. The enhanced 511 system provides a one-stop shop with information about route restrictions, Truck Weigh and Inspection Stations and winter storm emergency truck parking, SHA said.
“If you’re a professional driver with a special hauling permit or you live along a designated snow emergency route, you’re probably acutely interested in winter storm operations and when county snow emergency plans go into effect,” noted Melinda Peters, SHA administrator, in a statement.
“You can now program 511 to send text messages directly to your mobile device or e-mail as counties enter or exit a snow emergency plan,” added Louis Campion, president of the Maryland Motor Truck Association.
“Real-time information is fundamental to truck drivers delivering freight on our roadways,” he said. “By providing critical notifications about weather conditions, route restrictions, emergency parking availability and traffic incidents, Maryland’s enhanced 511 system will be a major asset to truck drivers trying to deliver goods safely and efficiently.”
In the Northeast, New jersey Governor Chris Christie declared a state of emergency, authorizing the State Director of Emergency Management to continue coordinating all preparation, response and recovery efforts for Winter Storm Pax with all county and municipal emergency operations and governmental agencies.
“This winter storm is expected … to last through early Friday morning and the heavy snow will create hazardous travel conditions across the state,” Governor Christie said. “I encourage all New Jerseyans to drive carefully and remain off the roads if possible so that our first responders and public safety officials can safely respond to any emergency situations.”
He added that the storm is expected to bring heavy snow, freezing temperatures and mixed precipitation throughout the Northeast through Friday, creating dangerous and icy driving conditions that will affect travel throughout the state for several days. A potential mixture of fallen trees, power outages and flooding is anticipated as well, Christie said.