Snow problem

Published 9:24 pm Saturday, January 26, 2013

From left, Abby, Katherine and Emma Conrod take a break from playing in the snow on Saturday. The Conrod family and thousands of others around Suffolk went to bed on Friday with a fresh blanket of snow having fallen through the afternoon and evening and just waiting for folks to go outside and have some fun in it on Saturday. For more reader photos of snow fun and games, check out our Facebook page. (Maryanne Conrod Photo)

Winter storm makes Friday rush hour a mess

Just as forecasters had promised, the snow on Friday started early in the afternoon and quickly accumulated on lawns, sidewalks and highways, turning the afternoon commute into a nightmare for many in Suffolk.

Suffolk police responded to 82 accidents or disabled-vehicle calls involving about 160 vehicles between 3 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday, according to Suffolk spokesperson Diana Klink, who stated in a press release on Saturday that none of the accidents had been “major.”

Fire and rescue personnel assisted the police department at a number of crashes, Klink stated. There were no fire calls during the period.

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By the time Suffolk had retired for the evening, the snowfall was over, having left nearly three inches of accumulation in some places, and Suffolk Public Works crews worked through the night and all day Saturday trying to catch up with the situation.

At one point Friday night, icy conditions had closed the Route 58 entrance and exit ramps at Pruden Boulevard and Godwin Boulevard, and conditions on Holland Road were being described as treacherous.

In other parts of the city, even those who had left work early in anticipation of a slippery commute found themselves waiting at a near-standstill as crashes and disabled vehicles were cleared from the roads in front of them.

At one point, Klink stated in an email update during the storm, police had advised of more than 25 accidents that had taken place in just the previous hour.

On Thursday, public works crews had begun treating Suffolk’s roads with a brine solution designed “to inhibit snow and ice from adhering to the pavement,” Klink stated Friday evening. “Earlier today, they spread brine on Route 13 and 32 from the Route 58 bypass to the North Carolina line. All 30 dump trucks with plows and spreaders were loaded and dispatched into the field shortly after the first snow was observed this afternoon and are actively monitoring the primary roadways.”

On Saturday, she stated, 26 of those trucks had snow blades pushing snow and ice off the roadways around the city, as well as spreading salt and abrasives on the highways.

“Their aggressive monitoring of our roadways continues,” she stated. “Overall the primary roadways are down to bare pavement and are in great shape.”

But many secondary and neighborhood roads had not been scraped or salted on Saturday, and officials warned that conditions Saturday night could still be slippery in many parts of the city.

Events around the city were canceled on Saturday, and many Suffolk businesses and agencies turned to social media to announce they would open late or take the day off entirely.

Though temperatures Saturday night were expected to drop below freezing again, a brief warming trend promised temperatures as high as 70 on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service, whose forecast shows the mercury diving again on Thursday and Friday, with a high on Friday of only 39 degrees.

There is no more snow in Suffolk’s seven-day forecast.