UPDATE: City, county schools close after snowfall

Published 9:09 am Monday, March 2, 2009

A late winter storm brought snow to the region overnight.

All Franklin and Southampton County schools and school administrative offices are closed today, as well as Franklin City Hall. The Southampton County office complex in Courtland opened two hours later than usual. So did Isle of Wight County government offices, but the county’s schools are closed. Isle of Wight Academy closed, and Paul D. Camp Community College canceled classes at all campuses.

A public hearing on Southampton County schools’ 2009-10 budget, originally scheduled for tonight, will be held at 6:30 p.m. next Monday.

About an inch of snow fell in Franklin. The sun shone brightly on the city early this morning, but by 10:45 a.m., snow had resumed. Today’s high temperature will be just 30 degrees, according to Accuweather.com. Tonight’s low will be 17 degrees, which means the icy stuff will linger into Tuesday.

Most of the roads in the Franklin, Southampton County and southern parts of Isle of Wight County were labeled by the Virginia Department of Transportation as having minor problems, meaning they have potential for icy patches or snow but are passable when using caution.

Those conditions were labeled on parts of Routes 258, 35, 460 and the 58 bypass. Business 58 is clear, according to VDOT. The department is updating traffic conditions as they happen and posting them at http://511virginia.org.

Dominion Power reported that fewer than 50 customers in Southampton County and about 300 customers in Isle of Wight County were without electricity.

For those who have to go outside today, AAA recommends the following tips for winter driving:

Before starting out in snowy weather, take time to remove the snow from the entire car so it doesn’t blow onto your windshield or the windshields of other drivers. Make sure your mirrors and lights are clean as well.

Drive with your low-beam headlights illuminated.

Slow down and allow extra time to reach your destination. It’s better to delay your trip, stop early for the day, or take an extended break from driving.

Allow sufficient room for maintenance vehicles and plows; stay at least 15 car lengths (200 feet) back. If you must pass, go to the other vehicle’s left.

Watch for icy surfaces on bridges, even when the rest of the road seems to be in good condition.

If your tires lose traction, continue to look and steer in the direction you want to go. If the drive wheels start to spin or slide while going up a hill, ease off the accelerator slightly and then gently resume speed.

Apply constant firm pressure to the pedal with anti-lock brakes.

When changing lanes, avoid cutting in front of trucks, which need more time and distance than passenger vehicles to stop.

Don’t use cruise control in precipitation and freezing temperatures.

Remember that four-wheel drive helps you get going quicker, but it won’t help you stop any faster.