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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, is facing outrage from journalists and motorists who have been trapped on Interstate 95 for more than 16 hours.
Northern Virginia was buried under nearly a foot of snow — stranding cars and big rigs along a 90-mile stretch of the interstate near Washington, D.C.
“There are miles and miles of people who have been backed up all night and are still waiting in their cars,” NBC News reporter Josh Lederman said, describing his experience being stuck in his car with his dog overnight on I-95 in Virginia after a winter storm slammed the area.
A journalist for television station WRIC is also stuck in the massive backup.
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“We’ve been getting calls from people stranded on I-95 for up to 16 HOURS!! People running out of gas and food while stuck in awful backups lasting for miles and miles,” John Rogers wrote on Twitter.
More than 16 hours later the governor’s office issued a statement.
“An emergency message is going to all stranded drivers connecting them to support, and the state is working with localities to open a warming shelter for passengers, as needed,” the statement read.
Virginia citizens are furious – demanding to know why the governor and the Virginia Dept. of Transportation waited so long to begin rescue efforts.
“It’s quite evident that with 11 days left in office, Northam and his team did NOTHING to help VA residents and others when the snowstorm hit,” National Pulse editor Raheem Kassam wrote on Twitter. “Probably intentionally. A ‘f*** you, Virginia!.'”
Former State Dept. official Susan Phalen, who is stranded, told CNN “We’re hitting the point of no return.”
“People are getting out of their cars, hiding behind their car doors & doing their business on the streets. There’s no place to go,” she said.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Emily Clementson, a truck driver, told NBC Washington. She urged stuck motorists to ask truck drivers if they have food or water to share, since many carry extra supplies in case they get stranded.
The Virginia Dept. of Transportation tweeted to the stranded drivers on Monday that reinforcements were arriving from other states to help get them moving again.
“We wish we had a timetable, ETA or an educated guess on when travel will resume on I-95. It’s at a standstill in our area with multiple incidents,” the tweet read. “It’s frustrating & scary. Please know our crews don’t stop. Crews will work 24/7 until ALL state-maintained roads are safe for travel.”
Skyfox just now over some of the hundreds of motorists who have been stuck on I-95 in Virginia since yesterday afternoon pic.twitter.com/xorYW0sUbx— Steve Chenevey FOX5 (@stevechenevey) January 4, 2022
If it wasn't for this based black farmer, I'd still be stuck in the woods somewhere. Was there for 3 hours. After 4 hours and 100 feet on I-95.— Ethan Ralph (@TheRalphRetort) January 4, 2022
Literally the worst traffic experience. I'd take another near death wreck over this. Would take 7+ hours to get to Richmond even now. pic.twitter.com/eonHF2yRdT
Total disaster on I-95 in VA. @VaDOT says the road is closed between Dumfries Road and Ruther Glen. 48 MILE CLOSURE! DO NOT GET ON 95! Drivers begging Gov. Northam to declare a state of emergency so that National Guard troops can assist. @nbcwashington @RalphNortham pic.twitter.com/ofdv2LRKMK— First4Traffic (@First4Traffic) January 4, 2022
LISTEN: Drivers tell @7NewsDC about being stuck on I-95 for 12 hours without food, bathrooms, and now — running out of gas. This started after trucks jack-knifed, preventing plows from coming through or traffic to flow. Now — stalled cars are making the situation worse. pic.twitter.com/FxBDUXmFdK— Ashlie Rodriguez 7News (@Ashlie7News) January 4, 2022
“There are miles and miles of people who have been backed up all night and are still waiting in their cars.”@JoshNBCNews describes his experience being stuck in his car with his dog overnight on I-95 in Virginia after a winter storm slammed the area. pic.twitter.com/dgpfAXRGuZ— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 4, 2022
JUST NOW: "We're hitting the point of no return. People are getting out of their cars, hiding behind their car doors & doing their business on the streets. There's no place to go."@SAPOTUS (over?) shares what it's like being stuck on I-95 for 10 hours.pic.twitter.com/1gcuWWdxac— John Berman (@JohnBerman) January 4, 2022