Keep safe this winter

Published 10:32 pm Friday, December 7, 2018

It seems that winter weather is starting quite early this year. Our first snowfall was on Dec. 5 — a good two weeks before winter even technically starts — and though it mostly didn’t stick in Suffolk, it was still a reminder that winter is coming.

Another snowfall is taking place this weekend, mostly west of here, and there will be plenty more opportunities throughout the winter. While Hampton Roads doesn’t typically see a lot of snow, you can usually count on at least one or two flurry events every winter, with the occasional large snowfall every few years.

Despite snow’s irregularity, the city, of course, must be prepared for anything. The Public Works Department Roadway Division already has 26 spreader/plow combos for abrasive distribution and snow removal, five brine distributors to pre-treat roads with a salt solution that can help prevent icing, 2,500 tons of salt and 3,100 tons of sand, among other equipment and supplies.

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In the event of an actual snowfall worth mentioning this year, there are several ways you can help make the snow cleanup a faster and safer experience for everyone.

  • Avoid travel unless absolutely necessary.
  • Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter, in safe driving condition, and includes an emergency kit with jumper cables, blankets, first aid kit, water, non-perishable food, cat litter or sand, shovel, flash light and batteries, ice scraper and cellphone charger.
  • Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles.
  • Stay back and avoid passing snow plows and spreaders.
  • Avoid parking on streets when snow or ice is predicted; it makes plowing easier when there are no vehicles on the road.
  • Shovel sidewalks as soon as possible, but avoid shoveling snow into the roadway.
  • Clean snow around fire hydrants.
  • Removal all snow from your vehicle before driving.
  • Don’t crowd emergency vehicles.
  • Drive with extra caution.

Everyone can help make this winter a safe one for you and your neighbors, no matter how much snow we get.