Winter weather nips Suffolk

Published 6:40 pm Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Bird in Chuckatuck during Saturday’s snowfall.

A Bird in Chuckatuck during Saturday’s snowfall.

Slick, icy roads could continue to be an issue Sunday, as the precipitation that fell Friday and Saturday continues to cause problems.

“Even though we are going to have sunshine returning tomorrow, it will be tough to get a lot of melting tomorrow,” Jonathan McGee, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield, said Saturday.

Roads were a mess but Michelle Martin and her dog, Wu, enjoy a snowy Saturday afternoon walk.

Roads were a mess but Michelle Martin and her dog, Wu, enjoy a snowy Saturday afternoon walk.

He said Suffolk received about one to two inches of additional precipitation on Saturday, making a total of three to six inches for the entire storm.

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However, since part of that fell as rain, it would not appear as accumulation on the ground, he said.

“Not all of it was snow,” he said. “Some of it was sleet and then plain rain, and then it changed back to snow. It compacted some.”

The high on Sunday is not expected to be much above freezing, McGee said, so ice on the roads could continue to be an issue. The low will be in the low to mid 20s Sunday morning.

Officials spent Saturday urging folks to stay off the roads if they did not absolutely have to travel.

“State police are still asking for Virginians to stay off the roads Saturday as several more inches of snow/sleet/rain are forecasted for the commonwealth,” state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller wrote in an email.

From midnight to 2 p.m. Saturday, Virginia State Police responded to 104 crashes and 37 disabled vehicles in the Chesapeake division.

The Virginia Department of Transportation continued to apply salt and abrasives to roadways, but motorists were encouraged to avoid travel if possible, according to a release from VDOT. Primary routes were in minor to moderate condition on Saturday, while secondary routes were reported as moderate to severe.

VDOT also is encouraging motorists who do have to travel to use extreme caution, allow plenty of braking distance and not to crowd plow and spreader trucks.

According to city spokeswoman Diana Klink, Public Works crews were spreading salt and sand on bridges and primary roadways.

North Main Street was closed at the Kimberly Bridge for about an hour Saturday morning due to higher than normal tides following heavy winds. McGee said that was expected to persist during the high tide cycles Saturday night and Sunday morning, as well.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, the Office of the Virginia Chief Medical Examiner had confirmed three storm-related deaths in the state. In Chesapeake, one person died in a weather-related traffic crash after losing control and striking a tree on Route 17. In Hampton and Wise County, two people died of hypothermia.

Rain is expected again Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, but since the high will be around 50, there is no danger of it becoming snow or ice, McGee said.

The Suffolk Visitor Center will open at noon Sunday, Klink said, and the Suffolk Executive Airport will remain closed Sunday due to icing on the runways.