PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — As a second weekend of snow and winter weather pushed into Hampton Roads, VDOT, city officials and even the Virginia National Guard gathered their resources to get prepared.
Super Doppler 10 meteorologists forecasted the storm would bring high wind gusts to the area. Wind speeds could be up to 40 mph at some points. They’re now forecasting about 2 to 4 inches of snow across much of the Southside, as well as 8-10 inches (or more) for parts of the Eastern Shore.
Keep in mind, however, that the snowfall amounts could vary.
Drivers are encouraged to limit nonessential travel Friday and Saturday.
During the winter storm the prior weekend, in which much of the Hampton Roads metro saw between 2-6 inches of snow, Virginia State Police responded to 25 weather-related traffic crashes and 28 disabled/struck vehicles in a less than seven-hour span, according to VSP spokeswoman Sgt. Michelle Anaya.
Lindsay Denietolis, a spokeswoman for VDOT, said the agency spent $10.5 million just last weekend to try to keep roads clear. On Thursday, crews mobilized to retreat interstates, primary and high-volume secondary roads.
In total, the 60,000 gallons of saltwater brine pretreatment was be completed by Friday morning. At that time, crews began working shifts as part of 24-hour operations with 325 trucks at the ready.
The I-64 Express Lane closed starting as early as 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28, through 5 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 31.
Hampton Roads Transit suspended service for Saturday, January 29. HRT will continue to evaluate conditions to determine if they will have Sunday service. 10 On Your Side will communicate any changes.
County and city roads are the responsibility of local governments. Following Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R-Virginia) state of emergency declaration, the Virginia National Guard began mobilizing to head to the Eastern Shore, where they may need to help clear snow.
VDOT has a tool for Virginia residents to check to see if a street has been plowed. The agency has an online snowplow tracking map. VDOT trucks are equipped with automatic vehicle location technology and can be monitored on the tracker during snow-removal operations. You can zoom into the map to display street-level plowing activity.
VDOT trucks are represented on the map by an orange truck icon. Contractor truck locations are represented on the map by a yellow icon for standby and a green icon for active plowing. Service Contract trucks will be represented on the map by a blue icon.
However, Denietolis said people shouldn’t just rush out too soon after the snow stops falling.
“One of the things we do see a lot of is after the storm passes people are like, ‘Oh we can go back on the roads.’ We are seeing people zooming past our plows and even crowding our plows on the roads. Really for the safety for everyone involved, please don’t crowd the plows give space around them,” Denietolis said.
On Friday, VDOT said they had secured additional equipment and staffing:
- An additional 22 trucks equipped with plows and spreaders, for a total of 45;
- Six additional loaders;
- Five tree crews to assist with downed trees, branches and debris that may fall across the roads;
- One staged, heavy-duty rotator wrecker for assistance as-needed; and
- An incident management coordinator to assist with clearing incidents and working with heavy-duty equipment.
Approximately 60,000 gallons of brine were distributed onto interstates and primary routes in advance of the storm’s arrival, with those operations completed Friday morning.
AAA Tidewater also prepared for the weather.
“If you are able to, please stay home and off of the roads,” said Holly Dalby, AAA Tidewater director of public affairs. “Make those trips to the grocery store before the weather comes so you can stay at home once it starts precipitating.”
If travel is necessary:
- Monitor the local forecasts and changing road conditions
- Give crews time and space to treat roads, with extra caution in work zones.
- If you must travel during adverse weather conditions:
- Clear any snow or ice from your vehicle before driving.
- Ensure headlights are on in snow or rainy conditions.
- Allow plenty of time to reach your destination
- Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind the vehicle ahead of you
- Brake very lightly to keep your tires from slipping on pavement
- Do not pass snow plows
- Take extra caution in construction zones. Snow against the barrier service may result in narrower lanes.
- Visit www.511Virginia.org for the latest road conditions and closures before traveling. If possible, avoid travel until precipitation stops and road conditions improve.
- Free 511 Virginia Tools –Get the latest traffic conditions before traveling by calling 511, or go to www.511virginia.org. You also can download Virginia’s free 511 mobile app at https://www.virginiadot.org/travel/511.asp.
- 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) –Report road hazards or ask road-related questions at VDOT’s 24-hour Customer Service Center by calling this statewide toll-free number.
Chesapeake officials say work has already begun to treat all major bridges with a brine solution. Crews will work 12-hour shifts starting Friday night operating 35 plows/spreaders ready with 1900 tons of salt.
Hampton’s winter weather treatment facility has thousands of gallons of brine, salt and other chemicals that will be used to treat the city’s roadways and bridges. The facility, located adjacent to Langley Air Force Base, can produce as much as 3,000 gallons of brine in an hour. The brine is stored on-site in a half-dozen 5,500-gallon tanks.
Six trucks can take out a combined 8,000 gallons of brine at a time.
“Typically we want to make sure the bridges are brined first because they freeze first,” said Delane Carty, superintendent of bridge and street operations for the city’s Public Works Department. “Then we brine the rest of the streets and intersections so vehicles can stop safely.”
As always — they recommend not traveling out unless absolutely necessary tonight and tomorrow.
A Hampton spokesman said crews are likely planning to work straight into Sunday. Windy conditions mean if they clear snow off, there’s a good chance it’s going to be blowing right back onto the road. The temperatures are going to be below freezing so even if the snow stops, they’re still concerned about freezing road conditions until they know it’s clear.
“The biggest thing is to just stay warm and stay safe. If you can help it at all, don’t be out on the road. And if you have to be, just drive as carefully as you can and stay warm and plan ahead,” city spokesman Mike Holtzclaw said.
10 On Your Side also spoke to someone grabbing some last-minute items before the storm.
“Everybody should get batteries, flashlights, plenty of water, plenty of snacks and if you have kids, get something to keep them active. You know, besides all they want to do is play in the snow. And it’s a good thing but, you can’t always play in the snow. You know, like games, music, you know, stuff that you can do in the house,” said Shirley Tisdale.
The Newport News Recovery Operations Center and all libraries and community centers will be closed on Saturday, Jan. 29. Other closures include the Visitor Center and campsite office at Newport News Park and city historic sites.
Norfolk officials say the city has 23 plow trucks, 16 pickup trucks fitted with plows, 21 spreaders and four salt brine distributor trucks. City crews will begin clearing snow from primary snow routes followed by secondary snow routes. The city doesn’t plow neighborhood streets.
To allow for plowing operations on snow emergency routes, on-street parking is currently removed along Boush Street, Granby Street, Plume Street, Main Street, City Hall Avenue (in front of Fairfax Building), and the 400 block of Monticello Avenue. If you need to move your vehicle to a parking garage, the York Street Garage will be open starting Friday, January 28 at noon through Sunday, January 30 at 8 p.m. Click here for a map of all downtown parking garages.
In addition, the city declared a state of emergency on Friday. Officials say this will allow them to ask for state and federal resources and seek state and federal reimbursement if the cost of the winter storm reaches a certain threshold.
Portsmouth has 10 plow and salt spreader trucks that will be used to prepare roads. Crews will plow as necessary. Primary/major roads, bridges and overpasses, and those that lead to hospitals and fire stations are the priority.
Drivers are strongly requested to remove vehicles from on-street parking spaces on main roads during winter weather events. To view the Snow Plow Map priority for streets, click here: http://www.portsmouthva.gov/snowplow.
Those experiencing homelessness who need a place to stay during the winter storm should call Portsmouth’s non-emergency dispatch telephone number at (757) 393-5300.
Officials say that the Middle Street Garage and the 1st and 2nd floors, only, of the County Street Garage, will be open starting at 5 p.m. on Friday night for residents to park during the storm. Vehicles may remain in the garages until Monday, January 31st, at 7 a.m.
With winter weather, Suffolk crews will be working 12-hour shifts with 20 to 24 trucks running with plows and spreaders. Their primary focus will be clearing roads for emergency vehicles, hospital access, and service vehicles.
Officials say the first priority is given to all primary or main roadways, followed by secondary arterials and connectors.
An interactive map of the City’s priority routes for public paved roadways within the city can be viewed online: www.suffolkva.us/winterprep. Please note that removal timeframes and priority are subject to change with weather conditions.
To report roadway issues, citizens can contact Public Works at 757-514-7600, 24/7 during and after the storm until normal operations resume.
City of Suffolk facilities will be closed on Saturday, including the Recreation Centers, North Suffolk Library, Morgan Memorial Library, Suffolk Visitor Center, Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum, Suffolk Art Gallery, and the Suffolk Executive Airport. All Suffolk Parks & Recreation athletic programs are canceled for Saturday.
Officials say they will continue 12 hour shifts until midnight into Sunday and resume regular coverage Sunday morning.
Virginia Beach officials say the Public Works Department has 30 trucks prepared with several tons of salts and mixed products to prepare more than 900 lane-miles of primary roads. There are an additional 300 lane miles of priority secondary streets to plow.
Virginia Beach facilities will also be impacted by the weather this weekend.
City Operating Status
- Beginning at midnight Friday night, all City offices and facilities will operate under Essential Operating Conditions through Saturday, Jan. 28. This means the city is performing only essential functions (public safety and public infrastructure), and offices and facilities are not open for business. Stay tuned for further changes.
Cancelations and Closings as of 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 28, 2022
The following locations will be closed on Saturday, Jan. 29:
- Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum
- Thoroughgood House
- Sandler Center for the Performing Arts box office
Parks & Recreation
- All recreation centers and parks are closed Saturday, Jan. 29.
- There will be no youth basketball this weekend.
- Sledding is prohibited on Mt. Trashmore or at any other city property.
- Winter Wildlife Festival – All activities for today, including trips, workshops, Service Project and virtual keynote will be held as scheduled.
- All activities for Saturday, Jan. 29 and Sunday, Jan. 30, including the exhibit hall, are canceled.
- This includes:
- All registered trips & excursions on Saturday and Sunday
- Exhibit Hall at Princess Anne Rec Center scheduled for Saturday
- StoryWalks scheduled for Mount Trashmore Park on Sunday and at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday and Sunday
- Wildlife on the Line Service Project on Sunday at Lake Smith
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
- The Aquarium & Marine Science Center and the Adventure Park will be closed Saturday, Jan. 29.
- The Adventure Park will adjust Sunday hours to 1-5 p.m.
- Whale watching tours scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 29 and Sunday, Jan. 30 are canceled.
Virginia Beach Convention Center
- Mid Atlantic Sports and Boat Show: open today, Friday, Jan. 28, 2022 until 8 p.m.
- Saturday and Sunday show hours for this weekend have been postponed until next weekend.
- The show will be open Saturday, Feb. 5, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 6, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Virginia Beach Department of Public Health
- VBDPH has cancelled the vaccine clinic at Brandon Middle School and the testing clinic at New Hope Baptist Church scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022.
- Those who have scheduled appointments will be notified by email.
Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office
- On-site inmate visitation will be unavailable tomorrow, Saturday Jan. 29.
- This does not affect the web-based tablet visits or phone calls.
- Family and friends can review the inmate visitation procedures on www.vbso.net.
Virginia Beach Sports Center:
- The Track & Field event scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 29 will have a delayed start time.
- Staff are to arrive at 8:30 a.m. and athletes / attendees will arrive at 9:45 a.m.
- The Platform Middle School Basketball Tournament has been postponed to April 15-16, 2022.
Virginia Beach Visitor Information Center:
- The Visitor Information Center at 2100 Parks Ave. will be closed Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022.
Waste Management Operations
- There are no delays for the collection of trash, yard waste, and bulky items.
- Recycling service is on a one-day delay.
- Thursday areas are being serviced today, Friday, Jan 28.
- Friday residents can expect recycling service on Monday, Jan 31.
- Closures for Sat, Jan 29:
- Landfill and Resource Recovery Center (landfill will reopen on Tuesday, Feb 1).
- West Neck Recycling Center (will reopen on Monday, Jan 31, if conditions are safe).
Emergency Shelter for People Experiencing Homelessness
Limited congregate shelter space will be available at the Housing Resource Center for unsheltered individuals. Individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness and need shelter for this weekend should call (757) 385-5167.
The City has six snowplows and spreaders available for deployment and 425 tons of salt and sand on hand.
All eight solid waste Convenience and Recycling Centers in Currituck County will be closed on Saturday, January 29, 2022. The facilities will reopen on Sunday, January 30 if the weather and road conditions allow.
The Solid Waste Transfer Station in Currituck County will be closed on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 29-30.
The Moyock Welcome Center and the Corolla Visitors Center will be closed on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022.