AAA urges caution on the roads ahead of Tropical Storm Ophelia

They say reducing speed is key

ROANOKE, Va. – Heavy rain, storm surge, and windy conditions — that’s what the National Hurricane Center is saying to prepare for as Tropical Storm Ophelia makes its way to the coast.

As of Friday, Governor Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergency, canceling many weekend events.

Here at home, we’ll have rain and some wind gusts, but still much less than people will see on the coast.

But AAA spokesperson Morgan Dean says still take extra caution before hitting the roads this weekend.

“Tropical systems like this can drop a lot of rain all at a short period of time, which can cause ponding, road flooding, and flash flooding, and those can all be big problems for drivers,” Dean said.

One major concern to watch for, according to Dean, is hydroplaning.

“You lose traction, you lose control, your steering for that time period is not gonna do anything,” he said.

Dean says if you do start to hydroplane, it’s important to stay calm.

“Hitting the brakes might actually start you to spin a little bit, so it’s usually best just to back off on the accelerator, have your foot over that brake, and as soon as you feel pavement again, use that brake to slow yourself down,” he said.

Other tips from Dean include not using cruise control, slowing down, and staying off the roads if you can.

Another area that can be impacted by the storm is your home.

AEP spokesperson George Porter says preparing ahead of time is key.

“Now is the time to get those flashlights, get the batteries, candles, matches, if you have a generator make sure it’s gassed up,” Porter said.

Porter says if your power does go out, to please be patient.

“If they’re calling for 30, 40, 50 mph winds, we just cannot get out in that weather and do any restoration work,” he said. “We’re gonna wait ‘til the weather passes and we’ll assess the situation and assess the damage and get right on it.”

AEP and AAA both say to keep an eye on the forecast.

And you can do that on-air and online with Your Local Weather Authority.

About the Author:

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.