Thursday, January 20, 2022
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Motorists stranded for hours along I-95 after winter storm causes havoc and leaves more than 400,000 without power

“We wish we had a timetable, ETA or an educated guess on when travel will resume on I-95,” the Virginia Department of Transportation said on Twitter, describing the situation as frustrating and scary.

Motorists expressed their anger on social media as they sat in vehicles, unable to move and worried about the falling temperature after a storm that dropped several inches of snow across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast and left more than 400,000 customers without power.

The section of I-95 in the Fredericksburg, Virginia, area was blocked by multiple disabled vehicles and downed trees, VDOT said.

“As VDOT removes disabled vehicles, and plows/treats road to make it safe for passage as they are removed, (Virginia State Police) troopers will reach each driver,” VDOT said.

The Fredericksburg area received at least 14 inches of snow from the storm, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in the Baltimore/Washington area. Fredericksburg sits between Richmond, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

An estimated 20 to 30 trucks were stuck on I-95 northbound near the Thornburg exit, according to VDOT, which said towing crews were on the scene.

View of a car stuck in the snow in Alexandria, Virginia, as a winter snow storm hit the Northern Virginia area Monday.
On the southbound side, stuck and disabled trucks were blocking traffic on the interstate in Stafford, VDOT reported.

CNN en Español Correspondent Gustavo Valdés was among those stuck in traffic. He said when he stopped for gas around 6 p.m., his GPS said he was two hours from Washington. By 1 a.m. Tuesday, he still hadn’t arrived.

Valdés said he exited the highway near Quantico, Virginia, but the side roads were also jammed. Route 1A, which runs parallel to I-95 in the area, was blocked by jackknifed trucks, which were preventing snowplows from getting through.

CNN en Español Correspondent Gustavo Valdés took this photo from Route 1A in Virginia.

Valdés said he considered pulling to the side of the road to spend the night in his car because he couldn’t find an available hotel room, but traffic had started moving again.

Some four-wheel-drive vehicles helped create new paths through the snow for other vehicles to follow, he said.

While traffic was snarled on the interstate, drivers were also urged to stay off local roadways as dozens of traffic signals were out of service due to power outages, officials said.
More than 400,000 customers were in the dark Tuesday morning from Georgia to Maryland, with nearly 300,000 outages reported in Virginia alone, according to PowerOutage.US.
Further north on I-95, federal government offices in Washington, DC, are opening with a three-hour delay Tuesday after being shuttered Monday due to the weather. The district recorded 8.5 inches of snow Monday, the heaviest one-day snow total since January 2016, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said. Capitol Heights, Maryland, recorded 11.5 inches of snow and Baltimore/Washington International Airport reported 6.7 inches.
A person walks along the sidewalk in Alexandria, Virginia, as a winter snow storm hit the Northern Virginia area Monday.

3 killed when SUV collided with snowplow, officials say

Three deaths were reported in Maryland after an SUV with four occupants collided with a snowplow, according to Shiera Goff, spokesperson for the Montgomery County Police Department. Two women and one man were pronounced dead at the scene, Goff said, and a fourth victim, a man, was taken to an area hospital where he is in critical condition.

The investigation into the cause of the collision is ongoing, Goff said.

In the Southeast, two children were killed by falling trees Monday morning, officials said.

In Georgia, a 5-year-old boy in the Atlanta area died when a tree fell on his home during gusting winds, DeKalb County Fire Rescue spokesman Capt. Jaeson Daniels told CNN affiliate WSB. The boy’s mother was safely rescued, the outlet reported.
From record high temperatures to snow, these towns are shivering in shock Monday
The ground in the area was saturated by recent rainfall, Daniels told WSB. The NWS in Atlanta warned of possible wind gusts from 40-50 mph Monday morning.
And in Tennessee, a 7-year-old girl died early Monday morning when a tree fell on her home in the Knoxville area, the Blount County Sheriff’s Office told CNN affiliate WVLT.

“There are trees down all over the county, particularly here in Townsend, because we are right at the foothills of the Great Smoky National Park,” BCSO Public Information Officer Marian O’Briant told WVLT. “There are a lot of trees; it was kind of a wet heavy snow, so trees are still falling right now.”

CNN has reached out to DeKalb County Fire Rescue and the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.

Winter weather also slowed travel in New Jersey, where state police reported 160 accidents and 245 motorist requests for aid, according to Col. Patrick Callahan, the state police superintendent.

In Atlantic City, 9.5 inches of snow was reported.

Southwestern New Jersey received between 1 and 4 inches of snow, while the southeastern part of the state got somewhere between 6 to 11 inches, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

CNN’s Amir Vera contributed to this report.

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