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Posted January 22, 2014 | comments Leave a comment

Frigid temperatures chill valley

<h2>Crash kills truck driver traveling through Frederick County</h2>

By Katie Demeria

UPDATED: Public schools in Winchester and Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren and Clarke counties will be closed on Thursday.  Warren schools has issued a Code Blue for its employees while Shenandoah County Public Schools will keep its 12-month employees on regular schedule.

Northern Shenandoah Valley residents woke up this morning to frigid temperatures that blew in on an arctic storm system that also brought several inches of snow to the region on Tuesday.

The lows Tuesday evening were predicted to reach 3 degrees, with wind chills of 5 to 15 degrees below zero through noon today, when a wind chill advisory is set to expire, according to the National Weather Service.

NWS meteorologist Carl Barnes warned against going outside without proper protection this week in the bone-chilling temperatures.

"You're more prone to hypothermia when wind chills are this low, so make sure you bundle up," he said. "These are potentially very dangerous colds."

The accumulation Tuesday's storm left is likely to stick around for several days, according to Barnes, as temperatures are expected to remain frigid.

"Behind the system we're going to see temperatures continue to drop through the night," he said. "Lows will be in the single digits, but the wind chill will still be a factor, making it around minus 10 degrees."

The highs today should be in the mid teens, Barnes added. Thursday will only see highs in the upper teens, and Friday's temperatures are not expected to increase past the upper 20s.

"There probably isn't going to be much snow melt at all," Barnes said.

Road conditions today

Virginia Department of Transportation road crews were out in force on Tuesday and overnight, plowing and treating the roads, according to Sandy Myers of VDOT.

"They're continuing to plow and treat the roads, and will be out there throughout today and into tonight, and tomorrow as well," she said Tuesday.

VDOT officials warn that roads are icy today and urge drivers to use extreme caution while traveling.  A news release issued this morning warns that blowing snow may have covered previously plowed roads.

The release notes that crews will be clearing interstate and primary roads before moving on to secondary roads.  

As of 11 a.m. VDOT reports that road crews are now concentrating on clearing secondary roads.

Road conditions as of 11 a.m.:

  • Interstate 66 - Minor conditions -- meaning bare pavement with isolated spots of snow, ice or slush --  in Warren County.
  • Interstate 81 - Minor conditions in Shenandoah and Frederick counties.
  • Primary Roads - Moderate conditions in Page, Clarke and Warren counties.  Minor to moderate conditions in Shenandoah and Frederick counties.  
  • Secondary Roads - Moderate conditions in all counties.

Traffic crashes

There were a number of crashes reported on Tuesday, including one fatality in Frederick County.

Virginia State Police were called to the scene of a single-vehicle tractor-trailer crash in the northbound lane of Interstate 81 at the 318 mile marker in Frederick County at 9:25 a.m. Tuesday. The driver, Michael K. Goodwin, 58, of Jacksonville, Fla., was taken to Winchester Medical Center, where he later died.

According to a news release from state police spokesperson Corinne Geller, "Road conditions and the vehicle's speed were factors in the crash."

The email notes that Goodwin was traveling north on I-81 when he "lost control and jackknifed as it ran off the right side of the interstate. The cab of the tractor-trailer struck a tree on the driver's side."

State police had 1,657 service calls statewide from 12:01 a.m. Tuesday through 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to a news release at 9 p.m. Tuesday.  Of those calls, 366 were for traffic crashes and 351 were for disabled vehicles.

Closings

Area public schools and Lord Fairfax Community College were closed Tuesday due to the weather, and students in public schools in Winchester and Warren, Shenandoah, Clarke, Page and Frederick counties as well as at all LFCC campuses will not be going to school today. 

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com


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