Snow causes several accidentsPublished 8:08pm Friday, January 25, 2013
Heavy snow affected the afternoon and evening travel of Suffolk motorists, with more than 25 accidents reported on Suffolk roads within the first couple hours of precipitation.
“There are currently numerous accidents across the city with several vehicles in ditches and minor collisions,” city spokeswoman Diana Klink said just before 4 p.m. Friday.
About two to three inches of accumulation was expected. Heavy snow subsided toward the evening hours, but more light snow followed. Thirty dump trucks with plows and spreaders criss-crossed the city, spreading salt and sand and clearing snow.
“Be careful,” warned Mike Rusnak, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Wakefield. “With the temperatures in the 20s, roads are definitely becoming snow-covered and slippery.”
Rusnak also said some icy conditions were possible toward the southern part of the city.
Suffolk Public Schools canceled its after-school activities for Friday, including basketball games for all three high schools. Students set to take the SAT at King’s Fork and Lakeland high schools on Saturday morning will now have to make it up Feb. 16.
The city also canceled its youth league sports events for Friday evening and Saturday and closed the East Suffolk Recreation Center early.
Residents sick of the cold weather will have a reprieve next week. The high temperature is expected to be 65 Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Virginia State Police issued an advisory Friday morning asking residents to delay their travels until later Saturday if possible to allow crews the chance to treat and clear roadways.
Doing so “will greatly reduce drivers’ chances of being stuck in backed-up traffic and/or being involved in a traffic crash,” said spokeswoman Corinne Geller.
For those who must travel, Geller gave the following tips:
- Leave early so you have extra time to reach your destination safely.
- Slow down for road conditions.
- Buckle up and don’t drive distracted.
- Use your headlights to increase your visibility and help others see you.
- Completely clear your car of snow and ice before traveling.
- Increase the distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
The city of Suffolk also released the following tips to help residents heat their homes safely:
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Test smoke alarms monthly.
- Have an escape plan in place and review it monthly.