Insult to injury: More cold coming
The snowstorm responsible for dumping up to 11 inches of snow on portions of southerm Virginia dropped an average of just under 4 inches on the Northern Shenandoah Valley.
Ashley Sears, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, noted part of the reason for the lighter snowfall totals had to do with dry air lingering over the region.
According to the weather service, the highest snowfall total was in Front Royal and Winchester, with both reporting close to 4 1/2 inches in some areas.
The next highest totals reported were for Toms Brook, at 3.8 inches, and Strasburg, with 3.5 inches.
In total, 10 area localities averaged 3 1/2 inches of snow, which was lower than the 4-8 inches predicted.
Maps tracking snowfall and accumulation Monday evening displayed a giant hole in the snowstorm right over the Shenandoah Valley.
“It can happen and is not unusual for that to occur,” Sears said, noting that the trick for forecasters is “trying to figure out where that will set up.”
Cold front, snow on the way
Looking forward, Sears said the National Weather Service is expecting a cold front to move through the area that could bring more snow today.
“That could bring no more than an inch of snow, and that might even be pushing it,” she said, “It might be closer to a half an inch.”
The big concern for the rest of this week, Sears said, are the sub-freezing temperatures that will persist through Friday.
The low tonight is expected to be 6 degrees. Highs for Thursday may only reach 14 degrees, with overnight lows plummeting to 3 degrees below zero.
In addition, Sears noted that they are monitoring the potential for strong wind chills Thursday night. These winds could drop temperatures to as low as 15 below zero.
Such trending temperatures, Sears said, “would warrant a wind chill advisory for that area, but we won’t be issuing any right now. We’ll watch the trends.”
Temperatures are expected to reach a high of 18 degrees during the day Friday, with overnight lows around 6 degrees.
VDOT clearing roads
In preparation of Monday’s snowstorm, the Virginia Department of Transportation deployed about 900 snowplows and equipment in an attempt to keep the roadways clear.
As of Tuesday, VDOT spokeswoman Sandy Myers said, “Crews are still out there … and will continue their work until they have gotten to all of the secondary [roadways].”
Myers said the roads in and around the Shenandoah Region are “passable,” but that residents “still need to travel with caution.”
Part of the concern with the temperature drops for Thursday and Friday is the potential for melted snow to “refreeze” into patches of ice.
However, Myers said that, while most of the roads have been treated with salt, those measures do not work as well in single-digit temperatures.
Myers explained that VDOT “will go ahead and put abrasives down” for areas still experiencing icy conditions.
In addition, Myers said they will “absolutely” have crews out in the area plowing and treating the roads for the snow forecast for today.
Crashes, service calls
The Virginia State Police reported receiving 3,363 service calls between 4 p.m. Monday and noon on Tuesday, according to a news release.
Of those calls, 1,035 were for traffic accidents and 1,023 were for disabled vehicles.
Division II of the state police — which covers areas such as Shenandoah, Warren and Frederick Counties — reported 332 service calls, including 107 traffic crashes and 119 disabled vehicles.
State Police Sgt. F.L. Tyler noted, “The people took their time getting to where they needed to and heeded the warnings given by authorities.
“Most of the residents stayed off the roads so that VDOT could take care of the roadways and we handled the situations that did arise,” Tyler said.
Two fatal crashes on Virginia highways were reported, one in Loudoun County on Monday night on Route 15, and another on Interstate 81 in Wythe County.
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Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or email@example.com