Top 10 snowfall

Published 4:28 pm Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Keri Ruth Antezana has fun in the snow. Suffolk received more snow on Tuesday with some of last Monday’s snow still on the ground.

Keri Ruth Antezana has fun in the snow. Suffolk received more snow on Tuesday with some of last Monday’s snow still on the ground.

If Suffolk and the rest of Hampton Roads wake up Thursday to as much snow as was forecast, it’s one of our snowiest Februarys on record.

Accumulations for the region are measured in Norfolk. After Tuesday’s storm, 5.9 inches of snow had fallen there since the start of the month.

“If we get more than 4 inches of snow, it would be enough to put us into the top 10 Februarys on record,” Jonathan McGee, a meteorologist with the service in Wakefield, said Wednesday of what was coming.

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Even accumulations this morning at the lower end of the forecast would make this February one of Hampton Roads’ 10 snowiest. Between 4 and 8 inches were predicted.

And if the next couple of days are as cold as predicted — as low as 19 degrees, and highs not topping 35 before the weekend — it’ll be one of the top five coldest Februarys on record, McGee added.

The area’s snowiest February, in 1989, tallied 24.4 inches. The last snowy February comparable to this one was in 1996, with 11 inches.

City and Virginia Department of Transportation crews have been busy since President’s Day, when Suffolk got 4 ½ to 5 inches of snow.

VDOT has its crews on 12-hour shifts, salting, brining and plowing, and increased staff, including Safety Service Patrollers.

City crews commenced 12-hour rotations at 7 p.m. Thursday, according to spokeswoman Diana Klink, and 8,000 gallons of brine were deposited before the snow.

Overnight Tuesday, 21 plows focused on primary roads and bridges. Since just over an inch had accumulated most places and chemicals needed time to activate, they spread salt rather than plowing. Secondary roads were to be the next focus.

Three brine trucks, and a number of others putting down an abrasive mix in “shaded or troublesome areas,” were to operate Wednesday until conditions worsened.

For plowing going forward, secondary roads would follow primaries, and neighborhoods would not be plowed for a couple of days after the storm — if at all — Klink stated.

VDOT’s policy, which the city follows, is to have all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours after storms end. “It’s important to remember that passable does not mean drivers will see bare pavement,” Klink stated.

Authorities hoped employers would keep their workers home. “For those who have to venture out, use extreme caution, allow additional travel time and please give our trucks the right of way as they work to clear roads and interstates,” transportation officials advised.

Between 2 and 9 p.m. Tuesday, Suffolk Police responded to 55 incidents without injuries, seven accidents with injuries, four hit-and-runs and four reckless driving calls, according to Klink.

Responsible for the snow that was to arrive Wednesday night is a low-pressure system moving northeast from the Gulf of Mexico. McGee warned of refreezing Friday and Saturday night, before temperatures rise a little.