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Storm grazes region, slams middle, northern parts of Old Dominion

Steve Igo • Mar 6, 2013 at 9:05 AM

WISE — Snow showers continued through Wednesday afternoon over the Kentucky border counties of Virginia, but the latest winter storm saved its biggest punch for the middle and northeastern portions of the state.

Wise County remained under a winter weather warming through this morning, and county schools were closed, as were many school divisions across the region.

Virginia Department of Transportation road crews were keeping area roads in fairly decent condition, VDOT Wise Residency Administrator Allan Sumpter said at around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday.

“Things are not really too bad. We mobilized last night at around (8 p.m.) with a combination of private contractors and our state forces. We saw snow start falling in western Lee County at around (9-10 p.m.) and things picked up across the region at around 2 a.m. (Wednesday) or so throughout the entire four-county area,” Sumpter said.

VDOT’s Wise Residency is responsible for highway maintenance in Wise, Lee, Scott and Dickenson counties.

Snow accumulations ranged from 1-3 inches “and as much as 4 inches across our extreme elevations,” Sumpter said, with the highest accumulations as of 1:30 p.m. Wednesday across areas of Wise County.

Sumpter said road crews had primary routes in decent condition by early afternoon with “spotty snow and ice,” and higher volume secondary routes “about the same,” while lower volume secondary roads were “still in a moderate condition.

“We’re still working on those to see that all of our roads are treated,” he said. “We are evaluating our forecast now. It appears the worst of the storm has passed, but we will have crews out all night to deal with what we’ve got and what precipitation is yet to fall.”

Sumpter said the forecast calls for possible drizzly rain by this morning, “so we’re asking motorists to watch out for black ice at that time.”

Earlier Wednesday, a Virginia State Police report on statewide service calls by 10 a.m. reflected the fact Southwest Virginia dodged a weather bullet, albeit with enough shrapnel to inflict hazardous conditions.

From midnight through 10 a.m., the VSP reported Virginia troopers responded to 367 traffic crashes and 237 disabled vehicles. VSP dispatchers fielded roughly 547 additional calls for assistance and other information.

Of the total service calls, the Wytheville Division (Division IV consisting of Wytheville, Dublin, Bristol, Vansant and Wise substations) reported a total of 98 calls for service, the lowest of all divisions in Virginia, including five traffic crashes and 14 disabled vehicles.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, Division 1-Richmond reported 337 calls for service, including 133 traffic crashes and 37 disabled vehicles. Division II-Culpeper (Fredericksburg, Culpeper, Warrenton, Harrisonburg and Winchester) reported 293 calls for service, including 76 traffic crashes and 74 disabled vehicles.

Division III-Appomattox (Charlottesville, Waynesboro, Staunton, Lynchburg, South Boston and South Hill) reported 171 calls for service, including 79 traffic crashes and 24 disabled vehicles. Division V-Chesapeake (Hampton Roads, Tidewater, Eastern Shore, Williamsburg, Franklin and Emporia) reported 114 service calls, including 21 crashes and 10 disabled vehicles.

Division VI Salem (Lexington, Clifton Forge, Roanoke, Blacksburg, Bedford, Martinsville and Danville) reported 141 service calls, including 29 crashes and 26 disabled vehicles. Division VII-Fairfax (Prince William, Loudoun, Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax) reported 192 service calls, including 13 crashes and 52 disabled vehicles.

Before taking command of the Wise Residency about two years ago, Sumpter said he served four years in VDOT’s district encompassing Charlottesville and was keeping an eye on how the storm was affecting “my old stomping grounds” on Wednesday.

By 1:30 p.m., the Charlottesville area “had about 10 inches or so from what I’m hearing. They’ve got about a foot or so up around Front Royal and the Harrisonburg area. The western part of the Staunton area and north of that is getting hit pretty hard up there as well,” he said.

“But as for us, I think we’re going to be in good shape.”

The storm system is expected to creep up the Northeastern U.S. as the rest of the week proceeds, leaving this region with a forecast of moderating temperatures and lovelier weather by the weekend.

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