Jonathan Hernandez makes his way through downtown after a thin blanket of snow had spread across the area. The snow caused more than two dozen accidents within its first couple hours.

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Snow causes several accidents

Published 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.”

A plow and sanding truck makes its way down North Main Street on Friday afternoon to apply abrasive to the road about an hour after snow started in downtown Suffolk.

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.
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  • suffolk legal

    wish VDOT would maintain the roads like the used to

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  • Lovebug

    I’m not normally one to complain. I try to see things for what they are and go on. In this case and as someone who was out driving in this weather on Friday I have to say that a large portion of the issues were drivers who had no idea how to drive in these conditions. Could the plow trucks done better? Maybe so but then again my job is NOT to plow so I’m sure I as well as others don’t know exactly what or when they are suppose to be working on the roads. Suffolk was not the only city with road issues. I drove through 3 different cities and they all were having issues. When you have temps drop that quickly and snow coming down that hard in such a short period of time on already frozen roads your going to have issues. Mounds of vehicles on the roads doesn’t make it easy for these plow trucks to get their jobs done either. I have had a plow truck come along side of me before and I can only imagine the complaints that would come from these plow trucks throwing ice and slush up on peoples cars which is also a hazard.

    Hopefully ALL cities will look at what took place Friday and learn from it. Maybe find a better way to head off some of the dangers. More so the people operating their vehicles in that weather need to brush up on their snow driving or stay off the roads.

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    • happyGoLucky

      yeah…I submit most drivers are not accustom to driving on “Glaciers.” It was known that the roads were already at freezing prior to the snowfall. Nothing was done. I crossed three cities in my commute and the road conditions were not great in any of them. However, the only city that I observed that had exits closed..ie downtown suffolk exit and the smithfield ext was….Suffolk. This was over FOUR hours after the snow had started to fall. Traffic was already at a standstill due to accidents so…block off traffic to give the plows a 10 minute head start and clear the path. Not rocket science. Furthermore don’t lie and state you had 70 trucks out on the road when I saw two in my 2.5 hours on 58 and they were clearing the path for outbound traffic not for inbound tax paying citizens of the city…Just sayin

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  • tracker

    I am thankful that is was a half day for Suffolk students. I left school at 3:30 and the roads were already covered over. 58 was a mess heading to Chesapeake.

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  • nynative

    The curve at “Quaker Swamp” on Holland Rd going towards Holland was so icy every car was sliding into the ditch. Police were there but couldn’t do a thing. About a half mile up the road I was stopped in traffic for about 30 minutes and the entire time, two sand trucks sat there in a private parking lot doing nothing except keeping the drivers warm. I’m just thankful the city leaders were allowed to take liberal leave so they could leave work early and avoid the chaos I had to endure.

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  • MrJiggyFly

    Why they didn’t scrap/salt/sand the ramps within the hour it started snowing is beyond me. It snowed exactly like the weatherpeople said it would. Fast moving and not hanging around. Horrible job by the city.

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    • happyGoLucky

      A no brainer considering the freezing temps. We are NOT getting what we paid for !!! A 12 year old could do a better job.

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  • happyGoLucky

    Took me five hours to commute. Apparently the money designated for salt and road crews went towards the city managers raise and other top level city officials. City manager was lauded as a superior leader that managed the city well. Balloon juice !!!!!! Closing ramps not laying salt and sand rendering 58 a two lane glacier is a benchmark of managing the city??? Suffolk was the laughing stock of the tidewater area and not until Andy Fox made a mockery of the lack of response did any evidence of action manifest itself. Deplorable job when will you people wake up!

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  • happyGoLucky

    Took me five hours to commute. Apparently the money designated for salt and road crews went towards the city managers raise and other top level city officials. City manager was lauded as a superior leader that managed the city well. Balloon juice !!!!!! Cl

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  • MrJiggyFly

    Gotta admit, that was a pretty poor job with maintaining the roads. Closing ramps instead of de-icing them is a poor plan. Cool toys like the “mobile command center” and Miami Vice Patrol One Boat aren’t doing ya good are they?

    But why complain. You people get the government/leaders that you deserve. You re-elected them, I didn’t.

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  • am

    Hey Suffolk! How’s that decision to take over maintenance and control of your roads going? Do you think anyone is feeling sorry for you after the comment that you only have 32 trucks for a very large large city? Wah! You brought this upon yourselves. Someone didn’t realize that the inclined road at Constance and North Main would be just as much a hazard as any bridge or overpass? I guess we need a study and another few pay raises to take care of the situation.

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  • Kyliesmimi

    As a resident of Suffolk, my husband and I spend 5 hours in the car between 4 – 9 pm, getting from Battlefield Blvd in Chesapeake to our home here off of Godwin Blvd. in Suffolk. The Dept of Public works should be hanging their heads in shame!!! We drove on glare ice last night. Watching petrified people in their cars and it took 3 hours just from the Highrise Bridge to home. We saw DPW trucks but, they were more interested in closing exits than making them passable! Someone should be FIRED! I don’t know what is wrong with the decision makers in this area…they just make people put up with their idiocy and lack of consideration for its residents. They were well warned that there was a storm coming…why did they drop the ball again? The mayor just got re-elected…what exactly does she do? I lived here for 4-1/2 years and this place has done nothing but decline in the southern part of Suffolk where I live. She doesn’t need to tell people to “shop Suffolk”, she needs to get over herself and do her job. People could have been ill in their cars…and when I think of the children that were stranded for hours!!! She doesn’t need a pay raise (the only time we hear anything about her)…she needs to be fired, along with whoever runs the DPW!!! I know this is a very hush hush, complacent area in which to live, but some of us come from places that have a clue and the residents are taken care of and are a top priority. Shame on you all and I am embarrassed to say I live here!

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  • dollyb12

    Suffolk, you’ve done it again. Where were you when we needed you? Was the picture of the plow and sanding truck accompanying this article added before or after Andy Fox of WAVY-TV 10 showed up to point out the icy conditions at Constance Road and Main Street in front of the McDonald’s? Hopefully, Walgreen’s officials caught this on the Friday night news and decided to pick another location for their store.

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