Motorists expressed their anger on social media as they sat in vehicles, unable to move and worried about the falling temperature after a storm that dropped several inches of snow across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast and left more than 400,000 customers without power.
“As VDOT removes disabled vehicles, and plows/treats road to make it safe for passage as they are removed, (Virginia State Police) troopers will reach each driver,” VDOT said.
The Fredericksburg area received at least 14 inches of snow from the storm, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in the Baltimore/Washington area. Fredericksburg sits between Richmond, Virginia, and Washington, DC.
An estimated 20 to 30 trucks were stuck on I-95 northbound near the Thornburg exit, according to VDOT, which said towing crews were on the scene.
“We know people have been stopped for extraordinary time periods leading up to these closure areas, but we are clearing trucks one by one to break through this blockage, and we will get to each driver and restore traffic flow,” Kelly Hannon, communications manager for the VDOT Fredericksburg District, told CNN.
“Crews continue to work intensely to tow vehicles that are stuck and blocking the interstate near mile markers 136 in Stafford County, and then plow and treat the interstate to prevent follow-on crashes,” Hannon said. “This is also occurring where traffic remains stopped on Interstate 95 northbound at mile marker 117 in Spotsylvania County.”
Power outages have knocked out traffic cameras in the area of I-95 near Fredericksburg where travel is stalled, hindering VDOT’s response, Hannon said.
CNN en Español Correspondent Gustavo Valdés was among those stuck in traffic. He said when he stopped for gas around 6 p.m., his GPS said he was two hours from Washington. By 1 a.m. Tuesday, he still hadn’t arrived.
Valdés said he exited the highway near Quantico, Virginia, but the side roads were also jammed. Route 1A, which runs parallel to I-95 in the area, was blocked by jackknifed trucks, which were preventing snowplows from getting through.
Valdés said he considered pulling to the side of the road to spend the night in his car because he couldn’t find an available hotel room, but traffic had started moving again.
Some four-wheel-drive vehicles helped create new paths through the snow for other vehicles to follow, he said.
3 killed when SUV collided with snowplow, officials say
Three deaths were reported in Maryland after an SUV with four occupants collided with a snowplow, according to Shiera Goff, spokesperson for the Montgomery County Police Department. Two women and one man were pronounced dead at the scene, Goff said, and a fourth victim, a man, was taken to an area hospital where he is in critical condition.
The investigation into the cause of the collision is ongoing, Goff said.
In the Southeast, two children were killed by falling trees Monday morning, officials said.
“There are trees down all over the county, particularly here in Townsend, because we are right at the foothills of the Great Smoky National Park,” BCSO Public Information Officer Marian O’Briant told WVLT. “There are a lot of trees; it was kind of a wet heavy snow, so trees are still falling right now.”
CNN has reached out to DeKalb County Fire Rescue and the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.
Winter weather also slowed travel in New Jersey, where state police reported 160 accidents and 245 motorist requests for aid, according to Col. Patrick Callahan, the state police superintendent.
In Atlantic City, 9.5 inches of snow was reported.
Southwestern New Jersey received between 1 and 4 inches of snow, while the southeastern part of the state got somewhere between 6 to 11 inches, Gov. Phil Murphy said.
CNN’s Amir Vera contributed to this report.