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Snow falls on region, slows rush hour

The same storm system expected to hammer parts of New England and the coastal Mid-Atlantic and Northeast with snowfall measured in feet, clipped a bit of Central Virginia, dropping rain and snow on a rush hour and dropping temperatures well below freezing.

The snow started just before rush hour on Friday, making regional roads slick and slippery.

“The temperature will drop below freezing in all locations [in the region] this evening,” National Weather Service meteorologists said Friday night on the service’s website. “All locations should see at least some accumulating snow [with] a widespread one to three inches of snow expected across most of the area.”

Meteorologists said they expect some higher accumulations in higher elevations with two to four inches expected.

“For locations west of Interstate 95, the light snow should wind down around midnight,” they said. “However, snow may linger through the duration of the night along the bay as a coastal low forms offshore.”

Although the roads made for slick driving, it could have been worse. That coastal low forming offshore is the same one that weather service prognosticators expected to slam New England.

“Snowfall accumulations greater than 12 inches are expected along portions of the Mid-Atlantic Coast through eastern New England, with local maxima greater than 24 inches across eastern Massachusetts, including the Boston metro area,” meteorologists said. “Heavy snow rates and strong winds will produce dangerous blizzard conditions. Expect whiteout conditions and nearly impossible travel at times.”

Although it didn’t have the impact the Jan. 3 or Jan. 15 snowfalls had in Central Virginia on Central Virginia, the regional snow did put Virginia Department of Transportation crews on the streets.

“VDOT crews will be working throughout the night and into tomorrow to clear the snow,” said Len Stevens, VDOT spokesman. “Plan to take extra time during the evening commute, and watch for VDOT crews working to clear trouble spots on the roadways.”

Lou Hatter, with VDOT, recommended staying home with the snow arrives.

“If you do not have to travel, the best advice is to stay safe and warm at home,” Hatter said. “Remember, even though roads are brined, drivers could encounter icy spots, especially on bridges, overpasses, ramps and crossovers.”

Temperatures are expected to drop behind the storm with lows predicted in the teens for both Saturday and Sunday.

“Keep in mind, we will continue to see a risk of refreeze on roadways, possibly for several days, as temperatures fluctuate and snow and ice melt, then freeze again,” Stevens said.

Virginia State Police are warned motorists to shy away from the eastern portion of the commonwealth where snow could hit the hardest.

“[We’re] strategically staging personnel in those areas that will see the most snow, to include the Eastern Shore, which is under a blizzard warning,” said Corinne Geller, state police spokeswoman. “All available troopers will be on patrol throughout the state in order to respond as quickly as possible to traffic crashes, emergencies and disabled motorists.”


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