City braces for snow

Published 8:29 pm Thursday, January 7, 2010

With the National Weather Service predicting that Suffolk could receive up to an inch of snow by early this morning, Suffolk officials were getting ready on Wednesday for an early response if conditions warranted.

Suffolk public works employees were set to be on standby through the night to respond to developing conditions, city spokeswoman Debbie George said on Thursday.

Equipment had been put in place, and staff members were to be on call overnight.

Suffolk is responsible for maintaining and preparing its own roads, whereas the Virginia Department of Transportation takes responsibility for preparing interstates and other rural roads throughout the area.

“Despite the fact that Thursday was milder, there’s a storm in the Midwest and Ohio that is moving east,” said Chris Wamsley, a meteorologist with NSA. “It has a decent amount of snowfall and an abundance of cold air that’ll come in behind it.”

While the storm should have had little precipitation, meaning fewer icy spots, visibly was expected to be reduced to 1 to 3 miles, Wamsley said.

“Icy spots on the roads in the morning should be minimal due to the lack of moisture in the snow,” Wamsley said, adding that any spots should clear up by the afternoon, due to winds that will follow the snow.

“The weather has been severely cold which brings down the roadway temperatures,” said VDOT’s Lauren Hansen. “That is always the concern when dealing with snow and ice. We’re monitoring the roadway situations as the storm progresses.”

Hansen said the most important thing drivers need to remember Friday morning is to keep a safe distance from other vehicles, drive slowly and if they lose traction to pump their brakes. She also cautioned drivers in four-wheel-drive vehicles need to remember that they don’t have any more traction than someone with two-wheel-drive and to drive accordingly.

According to Suffolk City School officials, a decision on the start of classes Friday was to have been made by 5 a.m. Friday.