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Winter takes another shot at the region

March 13th, 2014 10:53 am by Stephen Igo

Winter takes another shot at the region

WISE -- Old Man Winter delivered another blow to parts of Southwest Virginia overnight Wednesday into Thursday, forcing Wise County schools to close Thursday and highway snowplow/salt truck crews to pull another all nighter.

The latest cold weather front featured blustery winds, plummeting temperatures and, by Wednesday evening, more snow over an area that's had plenty this winter season, particularly Wise and Dickenson counties. Accumulations ranged from an inch-and-a-half to two-and-a-half across the two counties, just enough to bring out the Virginia Department of Transportation crews and sighs of exasperation from winter weary residents.

VDOT Wise Residency Administrator Allan Sumpter at around 10 a.m. Thursday said his residency -- with responsibility for Lee, Wise, Scott and Dickenson counties -- held workers over from the day shift until the night shift came in at 8 p.m. to work the latest storm system.

"We had trace accumulations in Lee and Scott overnight. This morning the primary routes in those counties are clear. There are some minor ice patches on secondary roads in those counties in the shady areas," Sumpter said.

Primary roads as of 10 a.m. in Wise County were reported "pretty much in good shape, and there are a few ice patches on some of our two-lane routes such as (State Route) 68 and those areas in the Appalachia area," he said. "For our secondary routes in Wise County, some of those are snow covered while others are in minor condition with snow patches."

Dickenson County crews were reporting primary roads listed in minor condition with snow and ice patches, Sumpter said, with many of the secondary roads snow covered.

Weather caused it and weather could assist the cause, he said.

"Temperatures are expected to get into the mid-30's, the upper 30's today, depending on location. So we're hoping with the sun out, that will help warm the ground up and we will see some melting and drying occur as the day goes along, and we will evaluate a need for our night crews based on conditions as we go through the day," he said.

Daytime temperatures through Sunday are expected to bring a rapid end to the latest snow, with wary eyes cast toward another storm front predicted to make its greatest punch Sunday night into Monday. Early long range forecasts on that system range from all rain to a wintry mix for the mountains of Southwest Virginia.

"We're seeing an all rain event in some forecasts, and in others light snow, and even some of our amateur forecasters are saying it will be a pretty significant snow," Sumpter said of the Sunday into Monday predictions so far. "We'll just have to keep a watch out and see what happens when we get closer to that one."

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