Big swing on the way

Published 6:56 pm Monday, January 9, 2017

After snow, bitter cold, are you ready for spring?


The big weather news for the weekend was surely the snow that resulted in churches, schools, city offices and many businesses throughout the city being closed on Sunday and Monday.

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But the most interesting meteorological news of the week will likely be the big temperature swing that’s on the way.

Snow accumulation Friday and Saturday in Suffolk ranged from four to 10 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Just to the north and west, starting along a line that cut through the center of Isle of Wight and Southampton counties, the accumulation totals increased to nine to 12 inches or more in a band that reached roughly to I-85, according to the NWS.

With temperatures never climbing out of the 20s on Sunday, road conditions throughout the city continued to be perilous in many places.

“Suffolk Public Works crews have been working around the clock since before the storm even arrived to keep our roads as clear as possible,” city spokeswoman Diana Klink stated in a press release Sunday afternoon. “Even with the treatment and plowing, roads are slick. Due to continued extremely cold temperatures and icy conditions, motorists are urged to stay off the roads.”

In a special weather statement released Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service warned that an arctic high pressure system expected to settle over the region Sunday night would bring overnight temperatures in the single digits, with some rural areas expected to see the mercury fall to below zero.

In fact, the Suffolk Executive Airport registered its lowest temperatures of the season between 5:15 and 5:55 a.m. on Monday, when the mercury bottomed out at 4 degrees.

Temperatures continued to rise for much of the afternoon, but they were not expected to rise above freezing until Tuesday, which forecasters expect to herald the start of a trend that will bring a brief respite from winter — temperatures in the mid- to upper-60s — for Thursday and Friday.

On Monday, all Suffolk schools and all city offices were closed. The school system announced around lunchtime on Monday that all schools would remain closed on Tuesday.

Klink noted that public works employees had been on the job 24 hours a day since 4 a.m. Friday to prepare for and take care of the snow that Suffolk received Friday and Saturday.

“The department’s first priority is to make passable approximately 600 lane-miles of primary roads and additional lane-miles of priority streets that access hospitals, fire stations and police stations,” she stated.

“Most neighborhood streets are not cleared, because parked vehicles and other safety considerations make snow removal from these streets impractical. Problematic roadways into and out of some neighborhoods will be treated and/or plowed as supervisors investigate if the equipment can safely work in such areas.”