A city truck spreads a brine solution on a bridge. City crews worked Sunday and Monday to mitigate the effects of the storm on the city’s roads.
A city truck spreads a brine solution on a bridge. City crews worked Sunday and Monday to mitigate the effects of the storm on the city’s roads. (City of Suffolk photo)

Sleet, snow pummel city

Published 12:54am Tuesday, March 4, 2014

After a spring-like Sunday, Suffolk was pummeled Monday with all manner of wintry precipitation, from rain to sleet to snow.

National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Minnick said late in the afternoon that Suffolk had gotten about half an inch of sleet. Snow began later in the day, with about an inch of snow accumulation expected on top of the sleet.

Suffolk’s public and private schools closed Monday, and city offices closed at 12:45 p.m. Suffolk Public Schools and Nansemond-Suffolk Academy will be closed again Tuesday.

Suffolk police responded to 30 weather-related accidents between noon and 4:30 p.m., city spokeswoman Diana Klink said. There were no early reports of trees down or power outages.

Public Works had 18 trucks with plows and spreaders on the road after precipitation started, Klink said. Crews had worked Sunday and started again early Monday to treat roads with a brine solution and spread salt and sand.

The overnight hours were expected to bring some of the area’s coldest temperatures in recorded history for March, Minnick said. The record low for Norfolk in the entire month of March is 16, and Suffolk’s overnight low was expected to hit 17, with a high of only 33 on Tuesday.

“Snow and sleet are not that uncommon in March, but the record lows are a little more anomalous than what we’ve seen in the past,” Minnick said. “It will be sunny, so we do anticipate some melting, but there should still be some around even into Wednesday. It’s not really going to go anywhere tonight, so roads will continue to be slick into the night and tomorrow.”

Virginia State Police provide the following safety tips for those who do have to travel:

  • State law requires headlights to be on when windshield wipers are in active use
  • Completely clear all windows and lights of snow and ice before traveling
  • Add extra time to reach travel destination
  • Slow your speed for road conditions
  • Increase driving distances between vehicles for increased stopping distance
  • Do not tailgate snow plows or sand trucks
  • Always buckle up and ensure your passengers are buckled up as well
  • Do not drive distracted
  • If your vehicle begins to hydroplane, steer your vehicle in the direction you want your vehicle to go
  • Brake and accelerate lightly
  • Plan ahead before you travel by calling 511 for road conditions or click on www.511virginia.org. Do not call 911 or #77, as these are for emergency calls only
  • Have a charged cell phone and extra blankets, water, snacks in case your vehicle becomes disabled
  • Know your location to give to an emergency dispatcher to include the direction of travel in case you need emergency response. Use exit numbers or mile markers when on the interstate as points of reference
  • Comply with Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires drivers to change to another travel lane or, when not able to, to cautiously pass emergency personnel stopped on the side of the road, including highway maintenance vehicles and tow trucks with flashing amber lights.

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