Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Travel Only if Necessary - Heavy Snow Causing Downed Trees & Power Lines

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office advises residents to avoid travel on roadways unless absolutely necessary as heavy snow and high winds are predicted today. 
Residents are encouraged to stay informed about the latest weather information by following media reports and monitoring the National Weather Service at (or on your phone)for the latest forecast. 
Over 300 residents are without power and several traffic signals lost power or were malfunctioning earlier today. Motorists are reminded that when approaching an intersection where no law enforcement is present and the traffic signals are off due to power failure, that intersection must be treated as a four-way stop. Please be patient as widespread power outages are expected for our region and the winter weather may hinder utility crews from restoring power until conditions improve.  
When dealing with downed trees and post-storm debris, residents are reminded to stay away from downed wires as they may be live with electricity. If you see a downed line, report it immediately.
Also, make sure to report power outages. For Dominion Virginia Power, call 1-866-366-4357. Dominion also provides updates through Facebook and Twitter. To report NOVEC power outages, call 1-888-335-0500. Make sure NOVEC has your current phone number. The correct number will expedite outage reporting and power restoration. If you use a cell phone, call 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500 to associate your number with your account. Please be aware that bucket trucks are unable to operate in high winds, and this might delay crews working to fix any outages. For Washington Gas, call 1-800-543-8911. For Columbia Gas, call 1-800-543-8911. 
Other phone numbers you need to know:  
  • 2-1-1 Virginia is serving as the public inquiry number for Virginia residents.  
  • 5-1-1 is to be used for the latest in road conditions. 
  • Call #77 on a cell phone to report a traffic crash or traffic emergency.
  • Only call 9-1-1 in a true emergency.  For non-emergency situations in Loudoun County, call 703-777-1021.  
The Loudoun Sheriff's Office reminds motorists to stay safe in the winter by also following these driving safety tips:  
  • Always keep the gas tank topped off. When it gets to half, fill it up.  
  • Turn on your headlights. 
  • Do not travel unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to make the trip, ensure someone is aware of your route of travel. 
  • Carry a cellular phone. Your cell phone can be used during emergencies and for notifying those expecting your arrival in case there are weather delays. 
  • Always buckle-up. Your seat belt can be the best protection against drivers who are tense and in a hurry because of weather conditions. 
  • Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights – even the hood and roof – before driving. 
  • Pay attention. Don't try to out-drive the conditions. Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement. 
  • Leave plenty of room for stopping 
  • Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows – stay back a safe stopping distance and don't pass on the right. 
  • Know the current road conditions:; for statewide highway information 24-hours-a-day, call the Highway Helpline at 1-800-367-ROAD or check local traffic incident information at
  • Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Brake correctly. It takes more time to stop in adverse conditions. 
  • Watch for slippery bridges, even when the rest of the pavement is in good condition. Bridges will ice up sooner than the adjacent pavement. 
  • Don't use your cruise control in wintry conditions. Even roads that appear clear can have sudden slippery spots and the short touch of your brakes to deactivate the cruise control feature can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. 
  • Don't get overconfident in your 4x4 vehicle. Remember that your four-wheel drive vehicle may help you get going quicker than other vehicles but it won't help you stop any faster. Many 4x4 vehicles are heavier than passenger vehicles and actually may take longer to stop. Don't get overconfident in your 4x4 vehicle's traction. Your 4x4 can lose traction as quickly as a two-wheel drive vehicle. 
  • Do not pump anti-lock brakes. If your car is equipped with anti-lock brakes, do not pump brakes in attempting to stop. The right way is to "stomp and steer!" 
    Look farther ahead in traffic than you normally do. Actions by cars and trucks will alert you quicker to problems and give you a split-second extra time to react safely. 
  • Remember that trucks are heavier than cars. Trucks take longer to safely respond and come to a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them. 
  • Go Slow! 


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