Snow surprises Suffolk

Published 9:41 pm Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow-covered berries grow at Cedar Hill Cemetery on Monday. A surprise snowstorm dropped about one to two inches of snow throughout the region, a meteorologist said.

A Monday snowstorm that surprised even meteorologists in the area canceled school activities, closed public facilities early and may have contributed to vehicle accidents throughout the city.

About one to two inches fell throughout most of the eastern portion of the state, according to meteorologist Mike Rusnak at the National Weather Service in Wakefield. Areas farther west received two to three inches.

“This much wasn’t predicted,” Rusnak said. “There were some showers in the forecast, but not like this.”

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The Suffolk Municipal Airport began reporting light snow at 6:20 a.m. and continued to do so throughout the morning and much of the afternoon.

Suffolk Public Schools canceled its afternoon and evening activities because of road conditions, spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw said. In the early afternoon, she did not yet know if Tuesday classes would be canceled.

“We’re out checking the roads and seeing what the weather service people are saying as far as how long it’s going to continue,” Bradshaw said. “You have to kind of wait and see what the road conditions are.”

Public Works crews spread a salt and sand mixture on bridges before dark in anticipation of falling temperatures, city spokeswoman Debbie George said. Crews remained on standby throughout the night to apply additional treatments if needed.

The city of Suffolk also canceled some activities and closed the East Suffolk Recreation Center and city libraries at 6 p.m. The Winter Wonderland program scheduled for the North Suffolk Library has been rescheduled for Dec. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Two afternoon tractor-trailer accidents snarled traffic in the city, but it was too early to tell if the weather was a factor. One accident in the 2300 block of Holland Road involved at least two vehicles and a possible ejection. Emergency crews closed three lanes of that road for several hours while clearing the accident.

Another accident on Hosier Road between Whitemarsh and Badger roads also involved an overturned tractor-trailer.

The rest of the week could bring more snow, Rusnak said. The next couple days will be clear but windy and cold, with wind chill factors in the teens, he said.

“Temperatures will barely get above freezing,” Rusnak added.

The National Weather Service also predicts snow on Thursday, Saturday night and Sunday.