Weather: It’s snow big deal

Published 10:40 am Wednesday, January 21, 2009

FRANKLIN—Snow began to accumulate in spots after morning flurries Tuesday, shutting down local schools.

The flurries were short-lived, however, ending around 11 a.m. Much of the snow that had fallen Tuesday morning had disappeared by mid-afternoon.

Southampton and Isle of Wight schools never opened Tuesday. Franklin shut down its schools at 11 a.m.

The National Weather Service in Wakefield said that a trace amount of snow had fallen on Tuesday, far short of the 2-5 inches that were predicted to fall.

Sgt. Michelle Cotten, spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police, said there were no weather-related accidents in the city of Franklin, or in Southampton or Isle of Wight counties on Tuesday.

“While it isn’t often that Virginia is hit with a heavy winter storm like some of our unluckier (or heartier) friends to the North and Midwest, every winter seems to bring a few good storms that close our schools and make our roadways hazardous,” U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) said in a written statement. “With temperatures dropping and many East Coast states experiencing the coldest temperatures we have seen in years, it is important that families be equipped to navigate through the winter season with the greatest amount of ease and comfort.”

Forbes suggested stocking up on supplies such as shovels and rock salt.

“This is particularly important in the event that you need to leave your house in an emergency or if you have elderly relatives that stay with you,” Forbes said. “Before a storm hits is also a good time to ensure your home and pipes are well insulated, which will prevent cold air from seeping in or your pipes from freezing over. Make sure everyone in the house knows how to shut off water valves in case a pipe does burst – this will help control the amount of water that leaks into your home.”

It is also important to stay informed about the weather, Forbes said.

“If a winter storm is approaching, make sure to listen to your local radio or television for weather reports and any other emergency information,” Forbes said. “And, during the storm, stay off the roads unless it is absolutely necessary that you make a trip.”

Forbes said that if pipes freeze inside your home, wrap the pipes in rags. “You can also completely open all faucets in the house and pour hot water over the pipes,” he said.

Safety is also a concern, especially when heating homes with kerosene or other types of heaters.

“During (winter) storms, many households rely on alternative heating sources and don’t take the necessary safety precautions,” Forbes said. “Make sure fireplaces are in working order and candles are not left unattended. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand in case of an accident.”