Virginia drivers stranded on I-95; power outages

January 4, 2022
Downtown Richmond as seen from the VCU Broad Street parking garage on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in Richmond, Va.


Ice and snow stranded scores of drivers on Interstate 95 in Virginia into Tuesday morning after a winter storm pounded the mid-Atlantic and dumped more than a foot of snow in some places.

The storm brought havoc to roadways, left more than 280,000 without power in Virginia and caused at least five deaths across three states.

On a roughly 50-mile stretch of I-95 near Fredericksburg, drivers were stuck in their cars overnight with ice blanketing the freeway and cars at a standstill. The Virginia Department of Transportation tweeted after 5 a.m. Tuesday that the stretch of the interstate remained closed.

Late Monday, the agency shared a photo of the traffic jam with the caption, “We wish we had a timetable, ETA or an educated guess on when travel will resume on I-95. It’s at a standstill in our area with multiple incidents. Its frustrating & scary.”

Josh Lederman, a reporter with NBC News, tweeted that he was stuck in his car overnight and many motorists were turning off their cars to conserve gas.

“People (myself included) are taking exercise breaks outside their cars, walking their dogs on the interstate. I’ve been putting snow in his bowl and letting it melt into water,” he said in one tweet detailing the ordeal.

Lederman said around 6:45 a.m. that northbound cars began moving but southbound remained stuck.

The winter storm blanketed parts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Kentucky.

According to the National Weather Service, more than 15 inches of snow fell in Huntingtown, Maryland. Snowfall totals in the Washington, D.C., area were closer to half a foot to a foot.

Five deaths were reported due to the weather. A 7-year-old girl died after heavy snow led to a tree falling on a home in Townsend, Tennessee, about 30 miles southeast of Knoxville, WVLT reported. 

A second child, a 5-year-old boy in Georgia, was killed after heavy rain and strong wind gusts caused a tree to fall on a home near Atlanta in DeKalb County, according to CBS 46. 

Three more people died when an SUV and snowplow collided in Montgomery County, Maryland, NBC reported. 

Contributing: Doyle Rice and Christal Hayes, USA TODAY


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