Storm impacts region’s roads

William Jackson Jr., 17, of Boyce, shovels snow off a line of cars outside his father's used car lot, Action Sales, at North Royal Avenue and West 14th Street in Front Royal on Tuesday morning. Rich Cooley/Daily

The first snowstorm of the New Year that dumped 2 or more inches of snow and prompted area public school closures also caused some headaches on valley roads Tuesday.

Road conditions ranged from minor to moderate as Virginia Department of Transportation crews attempted to clear roads for morning commuters, and several minor crashes occurred as a result of the slick, snow-covered roads.

Ken Slack, communications specialist for the Virginia Department of Transportation, said there were some areas that got a little bit more snow than expected.

“A lot of the snow was north-south based. Once you got south of Rockingham, we had almost nothing,” he said.

Despite the snowfall, Slack said cleanup crews made “good headway” on the primary roads, which are first priority in snow cleanup.

Mary Sofia, left, and Gwen Shuck, right, both 8, slide down the bank outside Warren County Middle School in Front Royal on Tuesday. Rich Cooley/Daily

“Once they are safe and passable, then [crews] start moving into the subdivision streets and secondaries,” he said.

Lt. Darcy Dellinger, of the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s office, said there were no motor vehicle crash injuries reported as of Tuesday afternoon, but that there were “numerous people sliding off the road and into ditches” throughout the morning.

In Warren County, Sheriff Daniel McEathron said they received eight calls for crashes occurring between midnight and 2 p.m., with no major injuries or fatalities reported.

Front Royal Police dispatcher Alicia Wines said Front Royal had one reported motor vehicle crash, and that the driver was not injured. There were six crashes in Winchester, police public information officer Lauren Cummings said.

“Most of [the accidents] were people sliding, to be honest. They were minor,” Cummings said.

Eddie Walton clears the walkway along West King Street in Strasburg on Tuesday during the first snow of 2015. Rich Cooley/Daily

There were also some minor crashes in Frederick County by early afternoon, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

“We had 12 crashes called in with no personal injury … and one crash called in with injury,” said Lt. Warren Gosnell of the Frederick County Sheriff’s office.

Gosnell said one injury was “non-life threatening” and the person was transported to the hospital.

Much like the rest of the area, Gosnell noted that they were all minor accidents.

“That’s the good thing about the snow,” Gosnell said, adding, “[Drivers] are not going nearly as fast as they normally would be. The crashes are mainly slow-speed.”

Snow hangs on a line of trees along the Shenandoah River in Front Royal on Tuesday. Rich Cooley/Daily

The snow moved out of the region Tuesday afternoon, and now area residents will see a drop in temperature.

Andy Woodcock, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Baltimore, said that the big concern for the rest of the week is “cold temperatures and wind chills.”

Wednesday’s high is expected to be 25 degrees, with gusts as high as 24 mph in the afternoon. The low is forecast at 6 degrees, with winds expected to reach 34 mph.

Woodcock noted, “If there is still snow on the ground, it will actually make it colder.”

There is a slight chance for snow Wednesday, but Woodcock said he does not think it will amount to much.

Trees reflect their shadows in the Shenandoah River late Tuesday afternoon along Burnshire Dam east of Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

Public schools in Shenandoah, Warren, Frederick, Page and Clarke counties and in Winchester and Lord Fairfax Community College were closed due to snow on Tuesday.

Shenandoah schools will open two hours late on Wednesday.

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com