January 5, 2018 11:45 AM, EST

Severe Storm Prompts States to Issue Restrictions, Emergency Plans

Rhode Island Roadformulanone/Flickr

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation banned tractor-trailers from all state highways for most of Jan. 4 as the state faced heavy snow and high winds.

The restriction was in effect from noon to 9 p.m. According to RIDOT, the ban was instituted to aid agency efforts to keep highways clear and safe for emergency vehicles to traverse.

“Already today the Rhode Island State Police has reported nearly a dozen incidents with tractor-trailers becoming disabled and blocking travel lanes,” RIDOT stated in a press release issued Jan. 4.

Blowing snow continues to pummel Rhode Island. The National Weather Service reported that it is 14 degrees in Providence as of Jan. 5, although the wind chill makes the temperature feel like minus 8 degrees.

Although the ban pertains specifically to trucks, the agency advised all drivers to use caution during the storm. RIDOT included a notice in its press release warning passenger vehicle drivers to avoid passing plow trucks and to maintain a safe distance behind them on the road.

Rhode Island is not the only state to issue warnings in the midst of severe weather. The governors of North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Delaware have all declared states of emergency.

In addition to a state of emergency, Delaware issued a Level 2 driving restriction Jan. 4. This restriction prohibits drivers on Delaware roadways unless they have been designated “essential personnel.” Under Delaware law, the term essential personnel applies to employees who are necessary to maintain the core functions of government, as well as the health and safety of the general public. Snow plow operators and people providing public utility services, health care, food and fuel are considered essential personnel.

“The priority for DelDOT is clearing and treating all primary roadways before plowing secondary roads. With the combination of strong winds, drifting snow and intense cold, getting to all roads is going to take time and DelDOT crews will continue to work to clear roads as quickly as possible,” states a notice on the Delaware Emergency Management Agency’s website. “In addition, salt is less effective in melting snow and ice in extremely low temperatures such as those we will experience over the next 72 hours.”

According to NWS, it is currently 13 degrees in Wilmington, Del., with a wind chill of minus 6 degrees.