Traffic accidents bloomed like spring buds Sunday as a post-winter storm coated the Richmond region with 1 to 4 inches of heavier-than-expected wet, slippery snow.
Above-freezing temperatures led to significant melting on roads overnight, but there could be some treacherous driving with more snow showers forecast for the morning rush hour today, according to the National Weather Service. No significant accumulation is expected from today's showers, the weather service said.
State police reported working more than 110 traffic accidents in the metro area by 8:20 p.m. Sunday, the majority of those crashes involving damage to vehicles but no injuries or fatalities.
Schools in Richmond and the counties of Henrico, Hanover and Chesterfield will be closed today, as are schools in Goochland, Powhatan, Louisa, Prince George, Dinwiddie and Amelia counties.
Virginia Commonwealth University said classes on its Monroe Park and VCU Medical Center campuses would be delayed until 10 a.m., but VCU Health System would operate on a regular schedule.
As conditions worsened Sunday evening, Richmond closed the Boulevard Bridge across the James River. The span was reopened this morning.
At Richmond International Airport, spokesman Troy Bell said 13 flights were canceled Sunday night, with an additional seven canceled for today.
“There are a lot of accidents” on the region’s roadways, said Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Dawn Eischen, noting that as of about 8 p.m. Sunday there were more than 60 reported in the metro area, including incidents on interstate and primary highways.
Emergency dispatchers reported being inundated with calls for help from motorists Sunday. “We’re extremely busy,” one Chesterfield County police dispatcher said Sunday evening.
“We’ve been very busy since it began snowing,” said Henrico police Lt. I.O. Lawson. “It seems like the eastern part of the county got more snow than western. We just maneuvered resources to handle it.”
Today, the Richmond region should see snow and rain early in the morning, then more snow showers are likely in the late morning and afternoon. Highs will be in the low 40s, with nippy northwest winds gusting up to 30 mph in the afternoon.
VDOT crews and contractors were out treating and plowing major routes, the agency said Sunday night.
VDOT says its goal is to have all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours after the storm ends.
Crews first clear interstates, primary roads — routes numbered from 1 to 599 — and major secondary roads connecting localities, emergency facilities, employment hubs, military posts, schools and other key public facilities. After that, the department shifts its resources to secondary routes as conditions allow.
VDOT encouraged drivers to check weather conditions and be prepared to alter their travel plans.