Suffolk’s forecast: Snow, rain, snow, cold
Published 8:36 pm Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Less than three inches of snow accumulation are expected for Suffolk during a winter storm set to last Friday through Sunday, and some of that will wash away before the rest falls.
“We’re not expecting the really high snowfall totals we are expecting in the Richmond area and west from here,” said Dan Proch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield.
However, he warned the little accumulation expected Friday morning could make for a tricky commute.
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“It could cause some issues as far as creating some slick spots on the roads,” Proch said. “There could be some travel impacts initially.”
The storm will begin as snow on Friday, Proch said, and then transition into a wintry mix and then rain as the day progresses.
“Whatever kind of snow accumulations we see Friday morning are going to kind of get washed out by the rainfall,” he said, estimating an inch to an inch and a half of snow for Suffolk on Friday. Totals will taper off toward the south and east, he added.
It will rain through Saturday evening, he said.
“Then we have the storm system kind of pulling away, and we get the colder air, so we’ll transition back to snow early Sunday morning. At that point, we could pick up an additional inch of accumulation.”
Other hazards during the storm could include coastal flooding “due to the strong winds associated with the storm,” Proch said.
He said colder air would lend itself to more snow accumulations rather than just cold rain.
“If it were colder, we’d be in the sweet spot for higher snow amounts,” he said. “It’s not going to be a nice day Friday, that’s for sure.”
City spokeswoman Diana Klink said the city is prepared with sand, salt and brine to treat the roads in whatever way is best.
“With temperatures forecasted to be in the transition zone, we need a little more information,” Klink said. “We are prepared to do either a sand/salt or brine pretreatment if the conditions allow. We have both of these mediums ready to go, but again, we need to get a little closer to the event to ensure that any pretreatment will be effective.”
Dominion Virginia Power spokeswoman Bonita Billingsley Harris said personnel have already begun gearing up and gathering resources in anticipation of the weather.
“Customers should put together an emergency preparedness kit with needed supplies such as flashlights, water, medicines, portable radios, extra batteries and non-perishable goods,” Harris said.
The Virginia State Police also is urging motorists to drive smart in the snow.
“These storm systems have the potential to significantly impact the safety of motorists on our highways,” Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent, stated in a press release. “We encourage drivers who encounter adverse travel conditions to be prepared, be alert, remain patient, and to always drive to save lives.”
Drivers are encouraged to wear their seatbelts, use headlights, slow down, make sure vehicles are in good working order and make sure to keep a window scraper, blanket, bottled water, snack, cellphone charger and flashlight with them.
Motorists can check road conditions by calling 511 on a cellphone or visiting www.511virginia.org.