Western Tidewater hit hardest by winter storm

Published 8:59 am Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A mixture of heavy snow and frozen precipitation fell upon Western Tidewater most of Monday evening and into the morning on Tuesday, and freezing cold temperatures are expected to remain in the area through the weekend. According to the National Weather Service in Wakefield, Southampton County received 5.5 inches of snow and sleet — the highest reported total in Southeastern Virginia.

In preparation for the storm, the Virginia Department of Transportation began treating the roads on Monday morning for Octavia, a storm that had been described as “crippling and potentially historic,” depending on the region of the country in which you live.

Bill Burgess out shoveling his driveway.

Bill Burgess out shoveling his driveway.

As the temperatures dipped nearly toward single digits, VDOT crews operated in 12-hour shifts to apply salt and plow the primary routes in the county and within the city. When the snow and/or sleet stopped falling around 8 a.m. and conditions improved, the crews shifted their focus toward the secondary roads.

Despite their efforts, all school districts and city or county offices in the area are closed for the day.

The department said it hopes to have Route 58 and 460 passable within 12 hours, and side roads passable within 24 hours. Neighborhood streets, meanwhile, won’t be cleared for safety reasons. Crews will also work with utility companies to remove any downed trees or repair power lines that may fall onto the road as a result of the heavy snow and ice.

VDOT wants to remind motorists to always use extreme caution — watching for ice, especially on ramps, bridges, overpasses, hills and curves — and reduce speeds when traveling in these conditions. The department also encourages drivers to keep an emergency driving kit in your car; keep windows, lights and mirrors clean; keep a safe driving distance between other vehicles and yourself; and allow for additional travel time.

For the latest information regarding the winter weather conditions and advisories, visit www.511virginia.org, call 511 or listen to Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) 1680 AM.