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Wintry mix over Southwest Virginia

December 10th, 2013 10:17 am by Stephen Igo

Wintry mix over Southwest Virginia

MGN online graphic

WISE -- A wintry mix of precipitation spread across Southwest Virginia on Tuesday, the final punch of a storm system expected to leave its greatest impacts on West Virginia, northern and central Virginia, and most parts of the northeast U.S. into Wednesday.

Bands of rain were falling across most of Lee and Scott Counties while sleet and snow showers were falling in spasms across swaths of Wise County Tuesday morning. Higher elevation population centers such as Norton and the Town of Wise experienced iced over windshields and car surfaces before dawn, changing over to sleet and snow showers as the morning progressed.

Wise County schools are on a noon to 4 p.m. schedule for Tuesday, and Norton called for a two hour delay to its school day.

Virginia Department of Transportation Wise Residency Administrator Allan Sumpter said his team held a 9 a.m. meeting Tuesday involving "decisions about summertime work, believe it or not," but overall focus was current weather conditions.

"Since early morning we've had a mix falling with rain and sleet and snow. In the counties of Lee and Scott for the most part it's been more rain than anything else. As of right now all of our areas in those counties are reporting the roads are wet and we're not really having any problems," he said.

"Here in Wise County (as of just before 10 a.m.) our primary roads are wet and our secondary roads are being reported in minor condition with snow patches. In Dickeson County our latest reports are primaries and secondaries minor with snow patches and some frozen precipitation on them."

VDOT Wise Residency road crews will be out overnight into Wednesday, Sumpter said.

"According to the forecast, the temperatures as we go through the day are actually supposed to get colder, and showing we may have icing occur on up to midnight or so. So I'm expecting we will be keeping our crews out overnight to guard against freezing, especially in our low lying areas, our bridges and road surfaces."

VDOT's weather forecast system includes predicted temperatures for road and bridge deck surfaces, Sumpter said, and the forecast overnight Tuesday into Wednesday are more than favorable for freezing.

"As an example, our forecasting system is based on our conditions. Right now it's predicting our pavement and bridge deck temperatures, at midnight, the pavement will get down to 24 degrees and on bridges it's expected to get down to 19 to 20 degrees. And that's common (for bridges) because, again, you have air circulating around bridge decks which is why they get colder, faster than (ground contact) pavement."

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