Democratic Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine was stuck in his car on snow-covered I-95 for more than a day in an attempt to return to Washington, D.C., from his home near Richmond.
“I’m now 27 hours into my journey,” Kaine told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota from Quantico, Virginia, more than two hours before he arrived at the Capitol. “I still have probably at least an hour and a half until I get to the Capitol. I left Richmond yesterday at 1:00, I live in Richmond. I was trying to get up to D.C. for a voting rights meeting, I’m working on voting rights issues, and the meeting was at 8:00 and I wanted to do it in-person. It’s turned into what will end up being a 27 or 28 hour ordeal, unlike anything I have ever seen.”
The drive from Richmond to Washington, D.C., normally takes just over two hours, but a storm that dumped nearly a foot of snow on northern Virginia, combined with a tractor-trailer accident, left travelers stuck on the interstate highway for more than a day. (RELATED: Government Calls A Snow Day)
Kaine’s meeting with President Joe Biden and nine other senators was moved to conference call, he said, giving him a chance to speak with constituents about the storm.
“Entire traffic was just stopped for five or six hours at a time, and so, you know, we would get out and visit with folks in the cars nearby. I’m driving myself, but other cars are packed with kids or senior citizens, folks coming back from vacations. There was some nice camaraderie, even during a very miserable, and extremely cold evening. One family with a Connecticut license plate was driving back with their kids from Florida from a vacation obviously, and they got out their bag of oranges, which was the souvenir, and started to hand out oranges to all the drivers near them, which I thought was really sweet,” he added.
Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a Tuesday morning message that emergency personnel would help local authorities to clear the highway, but that sunlight would have the largest impact on clearing snow. State and local police have provided water, fuel, and blankets to some drivers, Marcie Parker, a district engineer with the Virginia Department of Transportation, told reporters Tuesday morning.
No injuries or deaths have been reported as a result of the traffic jam, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police told WTOP.
Kaine explained that travelers were forced to sleep in 12 degree cold on Monday night, while avoiding running out of gas.
“I would turn the heater on full blast for about ten minutes, and then I would turn the engine off and lean back in my chair and sleep for, you know, 20 or 30 minutes, before it got so cold that I woke up again. That is how I was sleeping. The temperatures were down around 11 or 12 degrees last night, and thank goodness I had a good coat, and I also had a pretty full tank of gas when I started,” he added.
Kaine arrived at the Capitol complex shortly after 4 p.m.