Sen. Tim Kaine and thousands of others stuck in traffic for 19 hours

Senator Tim Kaine (D–VA) is among those who have been stuck in traffic for 19 hours on Interstate 95 in Virginia. Thousands of cars in both directions became trapped along a 50-mile-stretch of the highway yesterday after a multi-vehicle crash during a heavy snowstorm. Like a scene from a dystopian thriller, drivers ended up turning their engines off to save gas, stepping out of their cars to walk their pets, let their children stretch their legs, and to relieve themselves — all while battling freezing temperatures.

From NBC Washington:

Many drivers are out of gas. Some don't have food or water. Some say they have kids, pets and family members with medical needs in the car.

"We are getting to people as soon as we can. We understand the severity of the situation," Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson Kelly Hannon said.

U.S. Sen. for Virginia Tim Kaine said he was caught in the extreme gridlock.

"I started my normal 2 hour drive to DC at 1pm yesterday. 19 hours later, I'm still not near the Capitol," Kaine said on Twitter. He said his office is in touch with transportation officials.

And from NBC News:

The chaos unfolded when all southbound lanes of I-95 were shut down at mile marker 136 near Centreport Parkway after a crash involving several vehicles around noon on Monday.

No one was hurt in the incident, but the collision sparked delays, with the Virginia Department of Transportation later warning that heavy snow continued to back up traffic.

In a statement published on Twitter at around 8:40 p.m., the agency described the situation as "frustrating & scary."

By early Tuesday morning, the department said crews were "mobilizing now to start taking people stopped on interstate off nearby interchanges to bring them to alternate routes."

It also said that snowplows and tow trucks were on the scene, adding that motorists should plan to avoid travel on the interstate "until lanes reopen and significant congestion clears the area."

NBC News correspondent Josh Lederman was also caught up in the chaos.

"I try not to tweet about daily inconveniences, but this experience has been insane," he said in a tweet.

"For the last 7+ hours, I've been stuck in my car, not moving, in a total shutdown of I-95 northbound about 30 miles south of DC," Lederman said.

"The interstate is absolutely littered with disabled vehicles. Not just cars. Semis, everything. Nobody can move. People are running out of gas or abandoning vehicles," he said in a separate tweet.