Jan 4, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Drivers stranded overnight on I-95 after snowstorm slams D.C. area

This image provided by the Virginia department of Transportation shows a closed section of Interstate 95 near Fredericksburg, Va

A closed section of Interstate 95 near Fredericksburg, Va. Photo: Handout/Virginia Department of Transportation via AP

Snowbound traffic on Interstate 95 northbound in Stafford County, Virginia — about 30 miles south of D.C. — was at a standstill Tuesday morning after an 11-plus-hour overnight ordeal, NBC News correspondent Josh Lederman reported from his car, stuck in the jam.

Driving the news: Hundreds of cars and motorcycles were stranded overnight and into Tuesday in freezing temperatures after a crash involving six tractor-trailers brought a 50-mile stretch of the highway to a grinding halt, AP reports.

  • Traffic in both directions came to a standstill on Monday between Ruther Glen, Virginia, in Caroline County and Exit 152 in Dumfries, Prince William County, per AP.

The latest: The Virginia Department of Transportation confirmed Tuesday evening that no more people are stranded on the highway, and that less than 20 vehicles were left to be removed before plow trains would arrive to remove the snow and ice.

State of play: The Virginia Department of Transportation said Tuesday at 5:20am that "crews will start taking people off at any available interchange to get them," per a tweet.

  • "An emergency message is going to all stranded drivers connecting them to support ... While sunlight is expected to help @VaDOT clear the road, all Virginians should continue to avoid 1-95," Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted on Tuesday morning:

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who "started his normal 2 hour drive to DC at 1pm" on Monday, tweeted Tuesday afternoon he had been on the road for more than 27 hours.

The big picture: Washington, D.C.'s biggest snowstorm since 2019 hit the region on Monday, bringing about 8.5 inches of heavy, wet snow to the city, per Axios D.C.

  • More snow fell in eight hours than all of last winter, according to data from the National Weather Service.
  • The snowstorm brought down trees and weighed down power lines, taking out power for thousands of people across the DMV.

Zoom in: Lederman, who was headed home from the holidays, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" he hadn't seen a plow or emergency vehicle on his side of the highway since midnight.

  • Lederman's GPS originally showed him getting home at 5:15pm.
  • "The roads began slowing down as I got closer to dc. At 7:30ish we were still inching along down I-95 and that's when it came to a full halt," Lederman told Axios' Mike Allen.

Go deeper: D.C. snow day cuts power and delays re-openings

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information throughout.

Go deeper