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Sunday's snowstorm leaves bad road conditions and leads to lots of car crashes, grounded flights

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A major snowfall in the Richmond area wreaked havoc on Sunday, causing dangerous road conditions and grounding flights. On Sunday night, the National Weather Service recorded 9 inches of snow at Richmond International Airport with more precipitation expected throughout the night.

The Virginia Department of Transportation, the Virginia State Police and Mayor Levar Stoney on Sunday urged motorists to stay off the roads due to dangerous, wintry conditions.

Snow and ice reduced many streets and highways to one lane with cars skidding or crashing under the slippery conditions.

Throughout the day, Richmond police received more than 111 calls for accidents or disabled vehicles.

Virginia State Police had responded to more than 120 crashes statewide, including at least 68 wrecks in its Richmond division. No fatalities were reported due to those accidents.

Authorities in Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico counties spent most of their day responding to calls involving car accidents and disabled vehicles due to the snowstorm.

State and county officials advised motorists to stay off the roads until conditions improved.

The city of Richmond closed the Boulevard Bridge because of snow, and there were numerous road closures throughout the area.

Richmond International Airport remained open on Sunday with two open runways but saw 98 flight cancellations. Several flight cancellations were already scheduled for Monday. Those who will be flying on Monday are advised to check their flight status before heading to the airport.

Roads were expected to get worse overnight as many cleared roads were expected to refreeze and become even more slick.

“This is what a normal January or February snowstorm looks like,” VDOT spokeswoman Lindsay LeGrand said Sunday. “We’re hitting the roads hard.”

She said VDOT had 2,500 crew members from around the state and contractors working around the clock to plow roads.

Crews will focus on treating interstates and primary roads first, then major secondary roads near hospitals and emergency facilities, and then other secondary roads and subdivision streets.

VDOT has 867 snowplows in the Richmond district for snow and ice removal.

There’s a new service called the “VDOT Snow Plow Tracker” where viewers can track VDOT snowplows online at http://vdotplows.org/.

Viewers also can check road conditions at http://www.511virginia.org/.

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ccurran@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6151

Twitter: @collcurran

Colleen Curran covers arts and entertainment for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She writes the weekly column Top Five Weekend Events.

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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.

Tuesday Weatherline

Rain could change to snow or sleet Wednesday

Rain could change to snow or sleet on Wednesday morning, especially to the north and west of Richmond. The mountains expect 1 to 3 inches, but here, warmer conditions and shorter duration will work against accumulations (maybe a Nov. 12-like coating, at most).

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