Nor’easter takes aim: Valley could see up to a foot of snow

Todd Heier, left, and Rick Roberts, right, both maintenance operators for the Virginia Department of Transportation, install a new blade on a snow plow outside VDOT'S Toms Brook district office Monday morning. Area crews were busy Monday preparing for the winter storm. Rich Cooley/Daily

The Northern Shenandoah Valley is expected to feel the impact of a nor’easter that’s threatening to bring snow and wind to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast today.

Significant snowfall is predicted for much of the valley through today, with accumulation totals expected to approach a foot in some areas, according to Jim Lee, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Sterling.

“Sometime between 6 and 9 p.m. (Monday) you’ll see snow spreading over the valley and after 9 (or) 10 o’clock, it will come steadier and heavier and continue overnight,” he said. “We’re expecting 6 to 12 inches of snow with higher amounts at higher elevations. There is a winter storm warning in effect until (this) afternoon.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation has been treating roadways with anti-icing agents for the past day or so,  said Sandy Myers, communications manager for the VDOT Staunton District. VDOT will use 1,200 pieces of equipment in the Staunton District to combat the storm’s effect on transportation.

“We did go ahead and pre-treat the roads with the anti icing yesterday morning (Sunday) and they finished up yesterday afternoon,” she said. “It’s the interstate roads and roads we would use for detours (that we focus on). The night crews are going to come in late (Monday) afternoon. We set up watch crews and we pre-stage along the interstate so when the weather does fall they can immediately start to treat the roads.”

Gary Lambert, a VDOT maintenance operator, transports a load of salt outside the yard at the Toms Brook district office Monday as area road crews prepare for the storm. Rich Cooley/Daily

The white stuff is unlikely to stick around past week’s end, said Lee, as temperatures will warm up gradually with the exception of Wednesday, which could cause some re-freezing issues.

“Wednesday is going to be cold,” Lee said. “The high on Wednesday is below freezing but the sun’s going to be out and with that solar angle so high, if you’re out in the sun, the temperatures will probably be in the low 40s. Areas in the sun will certainly see a melt but there will be a refreeze on Wednesday night. Thursday we’re forecasting sunny skies. … I don’t see this sticking around much beyond end of week. Maybe up at the higher elevations.”

Myers urged residents to avoid driving if possible and to be careful in problem areas like bridges and ramps.

“Anything with a raised surface – ramps, bridges, when you have a raised surface, air gets underneath there and those are the areas that are going to freeze first,” Myers said. “Those are the kinds of areas that can get tricky if untreated.”

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com