Hundreds of drivers spend a freezing night stranded on a snowy Virginia highway. Photos

Virginia.- Hundreds of motorists desperately waiting for help Tuesday after being stranded overnight in freezing temperatures along a 50-mile stretch south of the nation’s capital that became impassable when the trucks sank in a winter storm. the state police said.

Disabled trucks set off a chain reaction Monday when other vehicles lost control and blocked lanes in both directions of Interstate 95, the main north-south highway along the east coast. As the hours passed and night fell, motorists they posted messages on social media about the lack of fuel, food and water.

Meera Rao and her husband, Raghavendra, were driving home after visiting their daughter in North Carolina when they got stuck on Monday night. They were only 30 meters from an exit, but were unable to move for about 16 hours.

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“Not a policeman (officer) came in the 16 hours we were trapped,” she said. “No one came. It was shocking. Being in the most advanced country in the world, no one knew how to clear even one lane so that we could all get out of that mess?”

Near dawn, road crews began to assist the drivers to get off “at any available intersection to pick them up,” the Virginia Department of Transportation tweeted.

At 9 a.m., a single lane of traffic crept past many trucks and cars stopped in one direction, while people could be seen walking by. the traffic lanes still covered in ice and snow.

Crews were working to remove the stopped trucks, shovel snow, thaw pavement, and guide stranded motorists to the nearest exits, transportation officials said.

Governor Ralph Northam He said his team responded overnight, sending emergency messages to connect stranded drivers with help and working with local officials to set up warming shelters as needed. He was unable to say when the situation would be resolved.

“Right now, things are not moving, as you know, and as you can see on the cameras,” Northam told WTOP radio station Tuesday morning.

The governor said he was not aware of any serious injuries as a result of the disaster.

The people who were stranded overnight and their families attacked Northam on Twitter, asking why the National Guard was not deployed to rescue the stranded motorists or offer them food or other assistance.

The governor said the National Guard was “available” but had not yet asked Guard members for help.

Rao said they stopped your car’s engine at least 30 times to save gas and they got hot enough to get warm. They had chips, nuts, and apples to eat, but Rao didn’t want to drink bottled water because he had a sprained ankle and didn’t think he could make it to a makeshift bathroom.

Finally, mid-morning Tuesday, a tow truck driver appeared and shoved the snow, allowing the Raos and a couple of other cars to back up and take the exit.

“He was a messenger from God,” Rao said. “He was literally crying.”

Seven to 11 inches of snow fell in the area during Monday’s blizzard, according to the National Weather Service, and state police have warned people to avoid driving unless absolutely necessary, especially when night temperatures are cooler.

To compound the challenges, the traffic cameras were disconnected because much of central Virginia lost power in the storm, the transportation department said.

Senator Tim Kaine, who lives in Richmond, said he was stuck in his car 21 hours after starting his two-hour drive to the Capitol at 1 p.m. Monday.

“This has been a miserable experience,” Kaine told WTOP. Traffic was so heavy that emergency vehicles struggled to remove the damaged cars and trucks, he said.

Kaine described the camaraderie among those who were stranded, including a Connecticut family returning from a Florida vacation and walking up and down rows of parked cars sharing a bag of oranges.

Still, spending overnight hours in freezing weather was “stressful,” he said.

Senator Tim Kaine’s Twitter feed. Photo: Capture

Darryl Walter, 57, of Bethesda, Maryland, was stuck for 10 hours while driving home after a Florida beach vacation with his wife, 26-year-old son and their dog, Brisket. For about five of those hours, they turned off their carl until northbound traffic began to climb again.

They had a few bottles of water, a few bags of chips, a blanket to keep warm, and Trivial Pursuit to pass the time. Walter said the worst part of the ordeal was not knowing how long it would last.

“We didn’t see plows out there,” he said. “Snow removal has always been a joke in this area.”

Still, Walter feels lucky to have been able to get home as soon as they did knowing that many others remained stranded for much longer. They passed a long line of cars heading south that couldn’t get past stabbed trucks. “It had to be 15 miles of backup,” Walter said.

Also stranded was NBC News correspondent Josh Lederman, who spoke on NBC’s “Today” show Tuesday via video from his car, with a dog in the back seat. He said he had been stuck about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of Washington since 8 p.m. Monday.

“We began to see many drivers turning off their cars to save gas, people who ran out of food and water, children and pets hiding for so many hours, people who let their pets out of the car to try to walk with them in the street” said Lederman, a former White House reporter for The Associated Press.

There were no signs of an emergency vehicle, he said.

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“You really start to think that if there was a medical emergency, someone who was left without gas and without heat, you know that it is 26 degrees and there is no way anyone can reach you in this situation.”

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