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Richmond braces for icy Monday commute after 107 weekend crashes

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Culpeper crash

Culpeper crash

Officials warned Virginians to brace for icy conditions overnight Sunday and into Monday morning following hundreds of traffic crashes across the state and power outages affecting thousands in the Richmond area.

State troopers had responded to 324 traffic crashes and 196 disabled vehicles throughout the state on Sunday, as of 5:30 p.m. The majority of the crashes —107 — occurred in the Richmond region. The police are investigating three fatalities, including one officials determined to be related to the weather.

Ronald Harris, 73, of Georgia, died after he lost control of his vehicle while traveling on Interstate 81 in Pulaski County on Saturday night. His vehicle was struck by two tractor-trailers. Both of the other drivers were transported to a nearby hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

In Brunswick County, a 16-year-old passenger died after a vehicle driven by another 16-year-old crashed into a tree shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday. The driver was transported to VCU Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. State police determined that alcohol and speed contributed to the crash and that neither teen was wearing a seat belt.

Stephanie D. Jefferson, 27, died after she lost control of her car on I-64 in Norfolk and struck another car. The other driver was uninjured. Police said that speed contributed to the crash and that Jefferson was not wearing a seat belt.

Sunday morning, more than 12,000 Richmond-area customers were without power, but by Sunday evening, Dominion Energy reported that the number was down to 8,850. In Northern Virginia, 1,541 customers were without power, and 6,788 were without power in Southside Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Transportation urged drivers to use extra caution Sunday and Monday as rain, ice and light snow were expected to hit Richmond. As of Sunday evening, all interstates in the region were clear, VDOT reported. Crews were deployed to treat icy roads with salt and sand and plow slush as needed heading into the Monday morning commute.

"Because of the varied types and amounts of precipitation in the Richmond District, drivers are encouraged to closely monitor their local forecasts and adjust travel to conditions in the area Monday morning," a VDOT press release stated.

Officials announced that public schools in Richmond and the counties of Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover and Powhatan will be closed Monday.

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bbalch@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6601

Twitter: @bridgetbalch

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John Boyer

John Boyer, the RTD's staff meteorologist

John Boyer is the first staff meteorologist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He joined the RTD newsroom in November 2016 after covering severe weather on television in Tulsa, Okla.

As a native of the Roanoke area, the region’s heavy snowstorms started his fascination with Virginia’s changing weather.

Boyer earned his degree in meteorology from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He is a member of the American Meteorological Society and earned their Certified Broadcast Meteorologist seal in 2012.

Look for his stories in the RTD and on Richmond.com, along with videos and forecast updates for major weather events in our area.

Email him your story ideas and weather tips.

Wednesday Weatherline

Increasingly dark days are ahead

We lose one to two minutes of sunlight each day for the rest of this month, causing our sunrise time to creep up to 7 a.m. by Nov. 26. After today, we won’t see a sunset time past 5 p.m. until Dec. 30. We must wait until Feb. 26 to see the sun out past 6 p.m.

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