If you're going to evacuate, do it now. Otherwise, when Hurricane Florence arrives, you need to stay put, VDOT says.
In a press release on Wednesday morning, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) recommended that Virginia motorists stay off the roads once Hurricane Florence hits the coast, an event that's expected on Thursday, September 13.
In other words, if you're planning to "get out of Dodge," then do it today. With the hurricane aimed for the Carolinas, more than one million people in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, are already under a mandatory evacuation. The Hampton Roads area is under a Tropical Storm watch.
“Remain vigilant as the storm approaches. Plan now to avoid travel once impacts begin,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen C. Brich. “Heavy rains and high winds may cause hazardous travel conditions, especially with the ground already saturated in many areas. Once the storm begins, motorists should be alert to flooded roadways, downed trees and loss of power across the commonwealth. By staying off roads, VDOT teams, emergency service providers and utility crews will be able to reach those in need as soon as possible.”
To assist residents with a speedy, cost-effective evacuation, VDOT has suspended tolls on express lanes and lifted HOV lane restrictions in the Hampton Roads area until further notice. This includes tolls on the George Coleman Bridge.
Some ferry services have also been suspended in light of the storm:
- Fredericksburg District -- Merry Point and Sunnybank ferry services have been suspended until further notice.
- Hampton Roads District – The Jamestown-Scotland Ferry will operate through 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12. VDOT will suspend ferry service from 8 p.m. to midnight and resume service at midnight.
To get the latest on road conditions, traffic, and anything else hurricane-related, here are some resources to keep handy:
- Latest Road Conditions -- Call 511, go to www.511virginia.org, or download the mobile app at the 511 website.
- Reporting Hazards (downed trees, hazardous road conditions) -- Log them online at my.vdot.virginia.gov, or call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623).
- VDOT Hurricane Preparedness Efforts –- Visit www.VDOT.Virginia.gov.
- Traffic Information -- Twitter @511statewideVA. For general VDOT information, follow @VaDOT.
- VDOT’s Facebook page will also be updated throughout the storm: https://www.facebook.
Whatever you do, be smart and stay safe. Hurricanes are nothing to mess with!