Snow already? VDOT began preparing on Tuesday morning

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Less than a week into 2018, and already snow is being predicted for Western Tidewater, the Greater Hampton Roads area and down into Northeastern North Carolina. Franklin, for example, might see four to five inches.

Western Tidewater residents could very well be shoveling snow on Thursday — around four to five inches worth. The National Weather Service in Wakefield forecasts snow falling from Wednesday night to Thursday morning. — FILE

“We’re expecting a low pressure [system] off the Southeast coast moving quickly to the Northeast off the Outer Banks on Wednesday night,” said Andrew Zimmerman, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “That will be put some moisture in the air, with snow possibly developing Wednesday night into early Thursday. There’s a potential for four to five inches of snow.”

He added that larger amount might happen in the Great Dismal Swamp area in central Suffolk and westward to Franklin. Further, the four-inch line will be just west of this city, and tapering off farther on. Emporia, for example, might get just one to two inches.

Temperature-wise, said Zimmerman, today will be the warmest day of the week with highs in the mid-30s.

“The colder air quickly comes in that night. It’ll be in the 20s while snow, and around 32 on Thursday,” he said.

But wait. There’s more.

It gets colder.

More of that arctic air mass the region’s been experiencing in the past few days will move in, bringing temperatures to the mid-20s for the highs and in the upper single digits for the lows. Zimmerman added that with snow on the ground the values could be a little colder to 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

If all this seems familiar, perhaps that’s because almost a year ago Western Tidewater was thoroughly blanketed in the power. Over the weekend of Jan. 7-8, Franklin got 8.1 inches; Southampton received 6.5 inches, and parts of Isle of Wight County experienced nine inches.


Even as earlier as yesterday morning, the Virginia Department of Transportation was getting ready. Spokeswoman Paula Miller state in a press released, “With freezing temperatures and potential snow in the forecast, VDOT Hampton Roads began pretreating interstates and roads throughout the Hampton Roads area at 9 a.m. on Tuesday to help prevent ice from bonding to the pavement and to assist with snow and ice removal. We will continue to monitor the low temperatures and road conditions over the next several days.”

Miller added that VDOT crews will work around the clock to clear all state-maintained roads, and that the agency’s  goal is to have state-maintained roads open and passable within 48 hours after the storm ends.

The Hampton Roads District has 469 pieces of equipment available for snow and ice-control activities, including trucks with plows and salt spreaders, as well as front end loaders and backhoes. VDOT Hampton Roads has adequate supplies of sand, salt and salt brine to treat roadways as needed. The agency replenishes supplies as they are used throughout the winter. VDOT has the capability to bring on more hired equipment if weather conditions deteriorate.

“Throughout the winter storm, motorists are urged to avoid any unnecessary travel on icy or snow-covered roads,” stated Miller. “If you must travel, please allow VDOT snowplows adequate space to do their jobs. Motorists are also encouraged to visit or call 511 for up-to-date information on road and traffic conditions.

Citizens can also follow VDOT Hampton Roads on Twitter at @VaDOTHR. Further information on travel conditions is available at:”