Culpeper County Public Schools closed two hours early on Tuesday as big, fluffy flakes blanketed the region with snow starting about 11 a.m.

Snow continued into the afternoon hours, falling steadily as temperatures dropped. As road surfaces grew slippery and the storm approached the Washington, D.C. area, the federal government closed their offices, requiring workers to leave no later than 1 p.m.

Germanna Community College issued a statement closing at 2 p.m., and many other schools and businesses followed suit.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, with roads expected to freeze overnight, causing icy conditions.

A statement from the Virginia State Police urges drivers to be prepared and drive for conditions. Snowfall has caused numerous traffic accidents, with damage only to vehicles and no reported fatalities as of 3 p.m. Tuesday.

In the statement, state police said several measures will help prevent drivers from losing control or becoming disabled, including the following:

Use headlights. Increasing your visibility helps you see better and helps others see you. Also, it's a state law that if the windshield wipers are active, headlights must be on.

Slow your speed. Slowing your speed gives you more time to safely react and avoid a crash. 

Don't tailgate. The stopping distance between vehicles should be ample enough to prevent rear end collisions, even if you find yourself slipping as you come to a stop.

Buckle up. Most crashes that occur during winter weather are caused by cars sliding into guardrails, off the road, or into other vehicles. Wearing your seat belt protects you from being thrown around the inside of your vehicle and suffering serious injury in a crash.

Check your vehicle. Make sure it is in good working order for the conditions. Fill up the tank in advance. Check windshield wipers, wiper fluid, tire tread, batter life, etc.

Don't leave home without a window scraper, blanket, bottled water, snack, cell phone charger and flashlight.

VDOT is urging residents and travelers to pay close attention to weather forecasts and road condition reports today since conditions may vary greatly within a relatively short distance, the release stated. Higher snow accumulations are forecast near the Blue Ridge Mountains and to the west in the Shenandoah Valley.

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