Winter storm dumps foot of snow
Published 2:02 pm Saturday, December 25, 2010
FRANKLIN—The foot of snow that fell on Western Tidewater Sunday continued to create havoc on the regions roads Monday morning. Officials were discouraging all but essential travel.
“We have responded to about 15 calls, including a jack-knifed tractor trailer on US-58 in Courtland in front of the 7-Eleven,” said Jackie Bryant with Jack Jr. Towing in Franklin on Sunday afternoon. “We have had to turn down a lot of calls. We just can’t keep up with the sheer volume of calls. We can’t do everything. We have had to turn down at least half of all calls that we have received.”
All Isle of Wight County government offices are closed Monday.
The National Weather Service is advising people to drive only in an emergency as road conditions are expected to be hazardous.
The Franklin Police Department also urged people not to drive. Traffic was lighter than normal Sunday, which is not the norm for the day after Christmas.
“So far we have only worked one accident in the local area,” said Franklin Police Sgt. Gayle.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency, authorizing state agencies to assist local governments in responding to the storm.
McDonnell declared the emergency “out of an abundance of caution to ensure the necessary resources are available to handle potential problems.”
“If you absolutely don’t have to be on the roads then you should stay home,” said Bryant, “because it is very dangerous outside; our trucks are slipping and sliding too. It’s tough out there right now.”
Virginia State Police reported receiving almost 3,000 calls for service statewide on Sunday. The State Police Chesapeake Division, which includes Western Tidewater, yielded the most calls for service, with 421 reported traffic crashes and 296 disabled vehicles. Of those crashes, 30 resulted in injuries.
From 12:01 a.m. through 10 p.m. Sunday, the seven Virginia State Police Emergency Communications Centers fielded 2,957 calls for service. Troopers have investigated 803 traffic crashes statewide with 67 of those crashes involving injured persons. At this time, no traffic fatalities have been reported for Sunday. In addition, troopers across the Commonwealth have responded to 543 calls for disabled vehicles.
During the Christmas holiday statistical counting period, preliminary numbers indicate six people lost their lives in four traffic crashes on Virginia’s highways. The statistical counting period began at 12:01 a.m. Friday and concluded at midnight Sunday. Two of the fatal crashes occurred Dec. 24 in the counties of Campbell and Culpeper. The remaining two fatal crashes occurred Dec. 25, in the City of Newport News and Prince William County. The Prince William County crash claimed the lives of a driver and his two passengers.
Slowing one’s speed and allowing ample driving distances between vehicles are recommended for such road conditions, State Police said.
In addition, motorists are encouraged to completely clean off their vehicles of all snow and ice before driving. The windshield, rear window, side windows, side mirrors, brake lights and headlights should be cleared of all snow to enhance a driver’s ability to see outside of his vehicle.
Taking the time to clear the accumulated inches of snow and ice off the roof, hood and trunk of a vehicle also helps prevent one’s windows from becoming obscured while driving – and from blowing onto others’ vehicles and obscuring their view.
For road conditions and updates, drivers are advised to call the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) 24-hour information line at 511 or go to www.511virginia.org.