Roads have been treacherous across southwest Virginia today as this winter storm moved through our region.
The roads appeared to improve a little bit as of 5 p.m. Friday. They seem to be mainly just wet with some slush and slick spots here and there.
But as you continue up the interstate, that changes and conditions worsen. We found out it made for a tough day for many Virginia drivers.
A steady stream of heavy sleet turned Glade Spring, Virginia roads into sheets of ice. Even with a wintry mix in the forecast for days, it still took some drivers like Bill Stanley by surprise. "I thought more snow instead of ice," he said. "It's been a lot of ice. That sure makes it dangerous. Four wheel drive won't even go on ice!"
To give you an idea of how deep the ice was Friday afternoon, where there was supposed to be a yellow parking line, you couldn't scrape up enough sleet with a shoe to see the yellow paint below.
But folks like Charles Delatos took their four-wheel-drive vehicles out anyway and found the roads slick and tough to drive on. "You have to be very cautious. It doesn't take but a second to mess up," he said. "My motto is, I'm never in a hurry to go anywhere."
We found snow plow after snow plow trying to scrape up all the ice and sleet they could. But it was no match for travelers like Walter Moss driving from Knoxville to Roanoke. He took a quick pit-stop to scrape ice off his car just to see. "You just have to stop every so often and take care of this because you can't see," he told us. "We're trying to get to Roanoke before dark so we don't have to use the headlights."
He's hoping he makes it home, unlike other cars he's seen in his rearview window that weren't so lucky. "A lot of cars were off in ditches and so forth off the side of the road," he said.
The good news is we've seen far fewer accidents than we did in last week's snow storm. Washington County, Virginia emergency officials tell me they've responded to less than 10.
But the roads are still slick out here and could continue to freeze overnight.