Snow dusts Suffolk

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 6, 2003

It may all be rain and slush by the time you read this, but early to mid-evening Monday, Suffolk received a dusting of snow, the first of the new year.

Captain Jim Judkins, Suffolk’s Emergency Management coordinator, said last night that the National Weather Service in Wakefield’s early report put him in an &uot;ears up mode. But at 5 p.m. this discontinued. Then the report said any precipitation could possibly change to snow by midnight.

He expected then, &uot;there might be an inch on grassy areas, but no problems on the road.


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&uot;I don’t think this is going to be a big problem, especially for our area.&uot;

Several Virginia counties received a surprise 4 inches of snow Sunday, causing numerous minor accidents and the closing of one lane on U.S. 29 in Madison County.

Several inches of snow were also reported in Fauquier and Culpeper counties, which called off school for Monday.

A wintry mix of rain, snow and ice fell along parts of the Appalachians and in the Shenandoah Valley.

Two jackknifed tractor-trailers closed the southbound lane of U.S. 29 for about two hours at the Robinson River, according to Jim Jennings of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Culpeper District.

In a separate accident, a jackknifed tractor-trailer and a horse van slid off U.S. 29 just outside Warrenton and brought the highway’s northbound traffic to a halt.

When Culpeper County Sheriff Lee Hart arrived at his office Sunday morning, he found a shaken 80-year-old woman waiting for him.

&uot;She was all dressed up and heading to church when she banged her car into a wall,” Hart said. &uot;She was scared to death and just walked to the Sheriff’s Office and waited for someone to show up.”

Hart drove the woman home in her vehicle, which was not seriously damaged. Jennings said VDOT was caught off guard by the upper-level low-pressure system that unexpectedly intensified as it approached central Virginia.

&uot;We got our crews out by 9:30 (Sunday morning) but the traffic got there before we could,” Jennings said. &uot;Before we could push the snow, it had been packed into ice.”

VDOT reported near-zero visibility on a notoriously dangerous stretch of Interstate 64 on Afton Mountain earlier Sunday.

While the fog lifted, VDOT cautioned motorists about icy roads.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.