RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With an arctic cold front expected to arrive in Central Virginia on Friday, the City of Richmond is advising residents on how to prepare for cold temperatures, high winds, ice and even flooding through the weekend.
If you have travel plans for the holidays, be careful on the roads this weekend. Richmond’s Department of Public Works plans to pretreat areas that are susceptible to slick spots, like bridges and hills. Additional staff will be on high alert to respond to black ice, power outages or other problems as needed. Drivers should be particularly cautious of black ice, which is difficult to see and makes roads very slippery.
For anyone that needs a safe place to get out of the cold, the City of Richmond’s Temporary Inclement Weather Shelters will be open 24 hours beginning on Thursday, Dec. 22 through Monday, Dec. 26. After Dec. 26, weather conditions will be evaluated to determine if shelters will be open for the rest of the week.
Richmond’s Temporary Inclement Weather Shelter for men is the United Nations Church, located at 1901 Wall Street, and the shelter for women and children is RVA Sister’s Keeper, located at 2807 Hull Street.
Even if the cold and rain aren’t keeping you from exploring outside, fans of kayaking, canoeing and other water activities might want to sit this weekend out. The James River is expected to reach nine feet on Saturday, taking it to a minor flood level. This will make the river dangerous to anyone who is not an expert paddler. Anyone planning to go into the river should use caution and wear or carry a personal flotation device.
The City has also released some general tips to remember as winter weather worsens:
- Protect yourself from frostbite by wearing a hat and mittens, and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss.
- Keep dry and change out of wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. You should also wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer or heavy clothing.
- Be careful on sidewalks, as they could be slippery. Use handrails when available.
- Avoid waiting outside for long periods of time. If you’re a GRTC rider, use the GRTC bus tracker at ridegrtc.com, the GRTC or Transit mobile apps, or call Customer Service (804-358-4782) to get bus arrival times.
Before you set out driving during winter weather, keep these things in mind:
- Know road conditions before you leave home. Visit 511Virginia.org or call 511 for road condition updates.
- Stay off the roads as much as possible and only drive when absolutely necessary.
- Always give snow plows the right of way.
- Slow down and give yourself more time to get to your destination.
- Avoid using cruise control.
- Keep an emergency kit in your car.
- Never attempt to drive through any standing water on the road.
Even if you just plan to stay home, there are a few good tips to keep in mind to keep your home and family safe:
- Refresh your memory on how to shut off water valves in your home in case pipes burst.
- Have additional heat sources in case the power goes out.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside your home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any other partially enclosed area.
- Make sure your home is properly insulated.
- Don’t leave pets outside for prolonged periods of time and have plenty of fresh, unfrozen water available.
Remember even as the cold — and snow, ice and wind — gets worse, there are places in Richmond to turn to for help:
- For gas or water emergencies, call the Department of Public Utilities 24 hours at 804-646-4646, Option 1.
- Know how to get help if needed. Download and print the graphic of different numbers you can call for help with different issues in Richmond. Keep it posted in your home.
- The City of Richmond will continue to monitor the weather and provide any updates as needed on social media @CityRichmondVA and @911RVA.
- For questions, please call 311.