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Terrible trio coming: snow, cold, winds

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Oh boy.

Terrible trio coming: snow, cold, winds

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Hanover County snow 1/16/2014.

BY REX SPRINGSTON Richmond Times-Dispatch | Updated 11 hours ago

A significant snow, bitter cold and blustery winds should make for potentially dangerous conditions in much of central Virginia this afternoon and tonight, forecasters say.

“It’s going to be pretty treacherous” on roads, said Mike Rusnak, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

The forecast calls for 3 to 6 inches of snow — the heaviest of the season — in most of the Richmond area, and 4 to 8 inches in Hanover County.

The area’s four largest school divisions — Chesterfield, Henrico and Hanover counties and the city of Richmond — made the decision Monday night to cancel classes today, as did most surrounding localities.

Winds could gust to about 30 mph this afternoon, tonight and early Wednesday.

Temperatures are not expected to top freezing Wednesday through Friday. That should keep the snow around.

“It’s going to be a very wintry week,” Rusnak said.

Light snow should begin about midday today, with the heaviest falling from late afternoon to about 8 or 9 p.m., said Lyle Alexander, another weather service meteorologist.

“Usually Richmond has at least one of these (types of storms) every winter,” Alexander said.

Virginia Department of Transportation officials said crews would apply anti-icing treatments to major routes including Interstates 95, 64 and 295 and state Routes 150 and 288 to keep snow from bonding with pavement.

“Motorists are reminded that ice and snow can still produce hazardous driving conditions, even when roads are treated,” VDOT said in a statement.

Once the storm begins, crews will apply sand and salt to major routes to melt snow and ice and provide traction for vehicles.

Roads could be particularly dangerous on bridges, overpasses, curves, hills and ramps, VDOT said.

Airlines began canceling flights for today — 21 as of 9 p.m. Monday — at Richmond International Airport, said airport spokesman Troy Bell, and the number of cancellations could go up substantially. On a typical weekday, the airport handles about 150 flights.

The weather service has issued a winter storm watch for this morning through the evening for a region including most of the Richmond area.

Much of Virginia north of Henrico, including Hanover and the Northern Neck, is under a more serious winter storm warning from 10 a.m. today to midnight.

“The combination of snow and blowing snow will reduce visibility to below 1 mile at times,” the weather service said. “Traveling may be dangerous (tonight). … Only travel in an emergency.”

The winter storm should move roughly southeast across the Mid-Atlantic today, and it should draw down arctic air with it and behind it, forecasters said.

The snow should be “dry and puffy,” said David Tolleris, a private weather forecaster in Chester. Temperatures, he said, “will be darned cold, no doubt about it.”

Today’s temperature should peak at about 33 around 10 a.m. and then drop throughout the day, hitting a low of around 8 early Wednesday, the weather service said.

Wednesday should be sunny with a high in the low 20s. The overnight temperature should drop to about 11.

The high should be in the low 30s Thursday and Friday, with a low around 10 Thursday night and 17 Friday night.

The first significant melting could come Saturday, which should be partly sunny with a high near 41.

Area school system closures:

Amelia County, Buckingham County, Caroline County, Chesterfield County, Colonial Heights, Cumberland County, Essex County, Goochland County, Hanover County, Henrico County, Louisa County, New Kent County, Nottoway County, Powhatan County, Prince Edward County, Prince George County, Richmond, Richmond County, Sussex County.

Staff writers Peter Bacqué and Zachary Reid contributed to this report.


Written by vaphc

January 21, 2014 at 6:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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