Big snowfall expected

Published 10:27 pm Thursday, January 5, 2017

On Wednesday there was still plenty of uncertainty regarding the weekend’s snow forecast, leading National Weather Service meteorologists to take a conservative approach to their forecast.

But by Thursday afternoon, most of the uncertainty was gone, and suddenly the forecast coming out of the NWS Wakefield office sounds a lot more like some of the worst-case scenarios making the rounds of social media through the week.

For Suffolk, that means seven to 10 inches of snow expected Saturday morning and temperatures dropping through Monday — down as low as single digits in some areas.

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“There’s some real cold arctic air that’s pouring down out of Canada” to blame for the frigid temperatures that will start the week, according to meteorologist Lyle Alexander.

And a blanket of snow on the ground will just make things even colder here in Suffolk, he said. In fact, low temperatures on Monday are expected to be more than 20 degrees colder than normal for this time of year.

The snow will “develop with a low-pressure system that’s going to develop in the Gulf of Mexico and move up through the coast of South Carolina,” Alexander said.

The storm is expected to start in the early hours on Saturday and continue into the afternoon. The heaviest snowfall would be likely to occur from 4 a.m. or so until about 10 a.m., Alexander said.

Crews from the Suffolk Public Works Department spent much of Thursday preparing for the harsh weekend weather, according to city spokeswoman Diana Klink.

Klink stated in a press release that crews would begin spraying a brine solution on bridges, elevated surfaces and primary roads starting at about 4 a.m. Friday.

“As with any winter storm event, all equipment has been prepared and calibrated for effective operations,” she stated in the release. “Since this is our first winter event of any significance this season, the city is well stocked with sand, salt and plow/spreader consumables.”

Klink encouraged residents to move their vehicles from the streets ahead of the storm to help make room for the expected snowplows.

She also directed residents to the city’s website for updates during and after the storm. Visit Readers should also keep an eye on the Suffolk News-Herald’s website,, for storm updates and for reader photos throughout the weekend.