Storm brings 144 accidents

Published 5:31 pm Monday, December 27, 2010

Shoveling snow in Hobson

Ursula Eppes, left clears a portion of the street in front of her Hobson home on Monday as 6-year-old Chyna Eppes and Shirley Williams clear the driveway. Suffolk was blanketed by about a foot of snow on Sunday.

The snow has stopped, but it could still be hanging around for a while.

Some areas in Suffolk got more than a foot of snow, National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Proch said Monday.

“It’s about 10 to 13 inches in the area,” Proch said. One weather observer reported 9 inches in Suffolk about 4:50 p.m. Sunday, but “there could have been an additional inch after that,” Proch said.

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On Christmas Day, Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency, which enables the Virginia National Guard to move supplies and personnel into place to respond to the storm.

The city of Suffolk closed its offices Monday because of treacherous road conditions and canceled city-sponsored activities.

The city’s police officers responded to 144 accidents Dec. 26 and through 2 p.m. Monday, city spokeswoman Debbie George said. Very few of the accidents involved injuries, she said. Many accidents involved vehicles sliding off a roadway and becoming stuck in a ditch or snow bank.

One accident involved a city salt truck, she said. It occurred on Portsmouth Boulevard when the truck struck a vehicle that had been left unattended in the middle of the roadway. The salt truck driver was unable to stop in time because of road conditions, she added.

Public Works crews have been working around the clock since 7 p.m. on Christmas Day, George added. On Sunday, they were able to concentrate only on primary roads because of the volume of snow that continued to fall. On Monday, crews moved on to secondary roads.

Residents in neighborhoods and along rural roads could see snowplows in their area Tuesday, George said. The plows will only be able to make it into neighborhoods where the streets are wide enough to allow safe operation of the plows, she added.

Two police officers were injured during the storm, George said. One officer fell on an icy walkway while checking on an elderly resident, she said. That officer injured his ankle, which was operated on Monday morning.

A second officer fell and injured his knee while walking to his vehicle at the police station, George said. He was treated and released at the hospital.

High temperatures the rest of the week will remain in the 40s until Friday, which means at least some snow will likely stick around into the new year.

The high temperature for Tuesday should hover around 40 degrees, Proch said. Highs on Wednesday and Thursday also will be in the lower 40s.

Friday’s temperature will rise to the lower 50s. Each day will have plenty of sun, “which will help melt a lot of that snow,” Proch said. “It shouldn’t stick around too long.”

Proch said weather observers throughout the area already were reporting snow heights lower than previous totals in the same place, indicating that some melting is already happening.

City officials are urging drivers to stay off the roadways if possible.