The winter storm will be Youngkin’s first test, a day into his term

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – As Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin prepares for his inauguration, his team braces for a problem that will hit them on the first day of his term: a winter storm threatening to blanket Virginia in snow.

Youngkin is under pressure to avoid the kind of crisis his predecessor, Gov. Ralph Northam, faced in his final weeks in office.

Northam’s administration was seen to have fumbled its response to a snowstorm earlier this month that left drivers stranded on I-95 — some stranded for more than 24 hours.

StormTracker8 threw up to 5″ of snow on the same stretch of I-95 that became a parking lot during the last storm – and up to 10″ for some of the counties hardest hit by extended power outages .

The new administration hopes to avoid that kind of shutdown this time around.

Shepard Miller, Youngkin’s choice for Transportation Secretary, said of the storm: “It could be ugly.

But when he appeared before the House of Delegates Transportation Committee on Thursday, none of the committee members asked him about his storm credentials – much to Miller’s surprise.

“Anybody?” he joked. “Perfect.”

But the agency he hopes to lead was forced to apologize this week for its response to the I-95 crisis.

“I’m so sorry this happened to anyone,” said Transport Secretary Shannon Valentine. “It was heartbreaking to me that this happened to anyone.”

While I-95 will likely avoid hazardous conditions this time around, I-81 and Route 29 west of Richmond may face hazardous conditions.

“We are doing everything we can to make our roads safe,” Miller said during his committee hearing. “We’re keeping them open, and we’re keeping commerce flowing and citizens able to move from place to place.”

Youngkin’s team told 8News, “The governor-elect has received information from the Virginia Emergency Management Department on all emergency operations and is actively coordinating with them on procedures in the event of impending weather.”

Although Miller will still need to be confirmed as transport secretary, he already has some oversight as a member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

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