Wicked Winter Weather


Desolate: Few cars passed on state highway 31 in Vinemont, Alabama on on Tuesday as another winter storm bore down on the south. It is expected to bring icy rain and several inches of snow

Panic buying: A Publix grocery store’s depleted shelves are seen ahead of the catastrophic winter storm about to hit metro Atlanta and the South on Wednesday and Thursday

Snow-covered South: A truck slowly travels on Alabama highway 176 on Tuesday as 3 inches of snow fell





‘Snow Rage’ Pits Storm-Weary Residents Against Plow Drivers Just Trying To Do Jobs
Angry Locals, Clearly Worn Down By Mother Nature, Are Now Getting Physical


Snow Totals Piling Up Fast; 130 Year Old Record Falls



Even the Duke-UNC game was canceled

All day, UNC-Chapel Hill officials said the big game between Duke and UNC was still on for 9 p.m. Wednesday. As long as the teams and refs could get there, ACC policy says play on, said UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham, who also urged fans to stay home and watch the game on TV.

But about 5:45 p.m., it became clear that the Duke players wouldn’t be able to make the trip from Durham to Chapel Hill. The game has been rescheduled for Feb. 20.


Snow vignettes: Weather gives USC students chance for fun

Snow and ice created plenty of chances for snowball fights and other fun at the University of South Carolina this week, but the winter storm also was welcome for another reason: Classes — and tests — were postponed.

As she ate lunch and waited for a friend at the Russell House student center Thursday, Carolina freshman Jill Pritts said this week’s snow gave her a reprieve from what was expected to be a challenging week.

Pritts, an 18-year-old from Roanoke, Va., said she’s “not a big fan of snow, but it’s nice to have a day off from school. I had a test today. It has been moved back until Tuesday.”

Sumter’s Justin DuRant said he especially appreciated it. DuRant, 18, is a double major in biology and music who is taking 20 hours this semester.

“I’m getting a chance to get ahead,” he said, but noted that the snow will make things “frustrating later on” because professors will try to cram the missed work into a shorter period of time this semester.

DuRant said wasn’t impressed with this week’s storm. “I like snow, but this isn’t exactly snow,” he said. “It’s ice pellets.”

Amanda Hiers shivered in the snow as she poured anti-freeze into her 19-year-old Honda Del Sol about mid-day Thursday. Hiers, a chemical engineering major at South Carolina, hoped to get the car running smoothly so she could motor out of the snow and back to her family’s home in Myrtle Beach. It wasn’t much warmer on the coast, but Hiers said getting home for the weekend would be a nice break from the snow.

“I hate this,” the 18-year-old said.” We live in the South. This is not how it should be. I’m going home today — if it’s the last thing I do. ”

After watching several people push a car out of a slippery parking space Thursday in Five Points, Sawyer Opalich said it was interesting how South Carolina residents were coping with snow and ice.

Still, the USC student, a freshman from northern Ohio, said he understands why southerners have so much trouble when wintry conditions hit.
“Up north, we’ll go six months with thick snow, cold weather and stuff like that,” he said as he walked back to campus on Greene Street. “But last week here, it was like 50 to 60 degrees. So it’s understandable why people take such extreme caution down here. You’ll have nice weather one day, then all of a sudden you’ve got snow and ice. That’s dangerous.”

For some youngsters whose parents attend USC, this week proved to be a wonderful time.

Yangfan Liu awoke early Thursday, ready to slide down a tiny hill near her family’s apartment on the corner of Pickens and Whaley streets.

The 3-year-old couldn’t wait to play in the snow for the second consecutive day and the second time this year. The little hill at Carolina Gardens Apartments was perfect for a youngster, her dad said. “It has snowed two times this year, so we are really lucky,” said 37-year-old Shou Liu, a post doctoral student at the University of South Carolina. “She said this morning ‘It’s snowy and I’m excited. I want to go out and play with the other children and go sledding.”
Sammy Fretwell



Chris Harte brings grocery carts back to Whole Foods Wednesday, February 12, 2014.

Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 9:40 pm | Updated: 12:21 pm, Thu Feb 13, 2014.
BY REX SPRINGSTON Richmond Times-Dispatch

11:35 a.m.

The Richmond area’s next challenge: Driving tonight and Friday.
“The main concern tonight and Friday morning will be the refreezing of snow-covered and wet roads,” said Jeff Orrock, a National Weather Service meteorologist, in an email.

In a statement, the weather service said, “Expect wet and snow covered roads to be dangerously icy Friday morning.”

The temperature, in the mid-30s now, is expected to drop to the mid-20s Friday morning, causing wet areas to freeze.

The region got 3 to 6 inches of snow and sleet Wednesday and early today before the precipitation turned briefly to freezing rain and then to drizzle.

An additional half-inch to 1 inch of snow should fall this afternoon or evening, the weather service said.

An icy start to the storm late Wednesday kept Virginia State Police and other law enforcement agencies busy with wrecks. From 4 p.m. Wednesday through 11:30 a.m. today, troopers in the region that includes Richmond responded to 291 crashes and 139 disabled vehicles, a spokesman said.

(This has been a breaking news update. Earlier updates and this morning’s story from the Richmond Times-Dispatch are posted below.)
Slightly warmer-than-expected temperatures made for more drizzle and less freezing rain in the Richmond area this morning, the National Weather Service said.

Temperatures before sunrise were just above freezing.

“This degree or two difference has prevented (greater icing) from happening, fortunately,” said Wayne Albright, a weather service meteorologist.

That means power outages haven’t been as severe as predicted and roads should be in better shape, he said. “We got off pretty good.”

In the Richmond area and points south and east, he said, “It’s not going to be that bad of a travel day.”

The center of the storm approached Virginia from the southwest. With winds rotating counter-clockwise, the storm’s northern end helped draw warm air from the ocean, elevating temperatures locally just enough to keep the ice down, Albright said.

The center of the storm was just off the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, moving north-northeast, about daybreak.

Another good thing: Cold, dry air that hung across the region before the storm hit made the snow fluffier and less heavy than expected, and that should mean less pressure on trees, Albright said. Heavy, wet snow can pull tree limbs onto power lines and into roads, causing blackouts and travel problems.

The snow and sleet amounts came in about as forecast, Albright said. The Richmond area has gotten 3 to 6 inches and much of the region could get another inch later today.

Areas including Hanover, Goochland and Louisa counties could get 1 to 3 inches.

The current light rain should shift to a mix of snow and rain this afternoon and then to all snow this evening, the weather service said. The precipitation is expected to end by about 9 p.m.

The light snow will produce hazardous travel conditions through this evening because of slick, slushy, snow-packed roads, the weather service said.

A winter storm warning is in effect until 7 p.m. The warning means severe winter weather is expected or occurring.
– Rex Springston

(This has been a breaking news update. Earlier updates and this morning’s story from the Richmond Times-Dispatch are posted below.)

9 a.m.

Here are more unofficial snow totals from this morning from the National weather Service:

Albemarle County, 9 inches.
Arlington County, 6 to 8.5.
Augusta County, 13.2 to 15.
Alexandria, 5 to 7.1.
Charlottesville, 8.
Manassas, 5.
Winchester, 12 to 17.
Clarke County, 9.5 to 12.4.
Fairfax County, 7.5 to 13.5.
Loudoun County, 10.8 to 15.5.
Madison County, 11.5 to 17.5.
Nelson County, 13.3.
Page County, 8 to 14.
Prince William County, 7 to 11.
Rockingham County, 9 to 14.
Shenandoah County, 8 to 12.
Stafford County, 6.5 to 7.
Warren County, 9 to11.
Lynchburg, 9.
Clifton Forge, 12 inches.
Louisa County, 9.5.
– Staff reports
(This has been a breaking news update. Earlier updates and this morning’s story from the Richmond Times-Dispatch are posted below.)

8:15 a.m.

HENRICO — A snow plow overturned in the Highland Springs area this morning, Henrico County police said.

Washington Street between Mapleleaf and N. New avenues was blocked, according to Lt. Linda Toney, a police spokeswoman.

Police were notified at 5:50 a.m. Toney said there was no immediate information on whether there were any injuries, but she said no rescue had been requested.
– Staff reports

(This has been a breaking news update. Earlier updates and this morning’s story from the Richmond Times-Dispatch are posted below.)

7:30 a.m.

Shortly after daybreak, area police departments reported relative calm on the roads. At 7 a.m., Richmond police were working one minor traffic crash, Henrico county police were also working one and Chesterfield County police weren’t working any. Hanover County reported no major incidents, either.

“It’s actually pretty quiet out there,” one dispatcher said. “I hope it stays that way.”

With the National Weather Service reporting the 7 a.m. temperature at 34 degrees, area dispatchers said the covering on secondary roads could best be described as slush.
– Joe Macenka

(This has been a breaking news update. Earlier updates and this morning’s story from the Richmond Times-Dispatch are posted below.)

6:55 a.m.

Virginia State Police are continuing to warn motorists to stay off the roads today as troopers have responded to hundreds of wrecks and disabled vehicles statewide since late Wednesday.

While some roads are slushy and wet, icy patches, snow and slick conditions have caused wrecks.

From 4 p.m. Wednesday through 4 a.m., state police responded to 841 traffic crashes and 515 disabled vehicles statewide, the agency said this morning. In the state police region that includes Richmond, there were 229 wrecks and 85 disabled vehicles.

Most of the wrecks only involved property damage. A crash Wednesday in which a Halifax County man was killed and his wife was seriously injured was weather-related, state police said.

State police reminded citizens to not use 911 or #77 to seek information abour road conditions. The state provides information on roads by telephone at 511 or athttp://www.511virginia.org/
– Staff reports

(This has been a breaking news update. Earlier updates and this morning’s story from the Richmond Times-Dispatch are posted below.)

6:25 a.m.

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, which serves more than 158,000 customers from the Blue Ridge to the coast, said it is only experiencing scattered power outages in its 22 counties this morning. But the utility says outages may increase as snow and sleet continue to accumulate on trees.

“Crews are responding to reported outages, but are finding travel conditions to be treacherous, making restoration efforts more challenging,” the cooperative said.

The state’s biggest utility, Dominion Virginia Power, reported these outages as of 6:20 a.m.:

Richmond and Tri Cities areas: 3,341
Southside Virginia: 461
Northern Neck: 2
Southeastern Virginia: 2,324
Northern Virginia: 20
–Staff reports

(This has been a breaking news update. Earlier updates and this morning’s story from the Richmond Times-Dispatch are posted below.)

6:15 a.m.

Here are some unofficial snow totals from late Wednesday and early today from the National weather Service
Amelia, 4 inches
Brunswick, 5.5
Caroline, 6
Charles City, 2.5
Chesterfield (Midlothian, 4; Bon Air 4.5; Matoaca, 5)
Colonial Heights, 4
Petersburg, 4
Goochland, 3
Greensville, 4
Hanover (Montpelier, 6)
Henrico (Glen Allen, 5.9; Short Pump, 5.2; Richmond International Airport, 3.7)
Jamestown 4.5
Louisa, 8.3
Nottoway, 8
– Staff reports

(This has been a breaking news update. Earlier updates and this morning’s story from the Richmond Times-Dispatch are posted below.)

5:30 a.m.

Major power outages in the Richmond area did not appear to be a problem early this morning, according to Dominion Virginia Power.

The utility reported about 3,000 of its more than 500,000 customers without electricity in the Richmond metro area as of about 5:30 a.m. Dominion said approximately 1,000 were without power in Southside Virginia, 4,700 in the southeastern portion of the state and fewer than 100 in Northern Virginia, where the snow was heavier.
– Staff reports

(This has been a breaking news update. An earlier update and this morning’s story from the Richmond Times-Dispatch are posted below.)

5 a.m.

RICHMOND — Overnight snow yielded rainy slush across parts of the Richmond metro area today but the forecast called for more snow after nightfall.

Richmond recorded 33 degrees just before 4 a.m., and the Virginia Department of Transportation described weather conditions on the interstates as minor to moderate, with with snow, ice and slush covering parts of roadways. VDOT said it has started to plow secondary roads.

Four to five inches of snow were recorded in some parts of the area, according to unofficial reports by the National Weather Service.

Some major Richmond thoroughfares had been plowed this morning and traffic appeared to be moving smoothly on Interstate 95 through downtown.

But with temperatures hovering around freezing officials continued to urge caution as it could be difficult to distinguish between wet pavement and ice, and bridges and overpasses could continue to be treacherous.
Schools closed across the region in advance of the storm. The onset of snow and ice late Wednesday caused numerous wrecks.

Virginia State Police said they responded to 150 crashes and 30 disabled vehicles in its Richmond division between 3:50 and 8:15 p.m. Wednesday. Statewide, troopers responded to 342 traffic crashes and 134 disabled vehicles during that time.

In Halifax County, a 55-year-old man died after his car was hit head-on by another vehicle in a wreck that state police said was weather-related.
With the snow comes the prospect of power outages. Dominion Virginia Power this morning reported about 2,500 of its more than 500,000 customers without electricity in the Richmond metro area. The utility reported about 1,200 without power in Southside Virginia, 4,600 in the southeastern portion of the state and just 24 in Northern Virginia, where the snow was heavier.
– Staff reports

(This has been a breaking news update. This morning’s story from the Richmond Times-Dispatch is posted below.)

People should plan on getting stuck today if they drive, and they should prepare to go without power if they stay home, officials said Wednesday as a major winter storm descended on the region.

Snow, sleet, ice and stiff winds will make driving hazardous, authorities said. The state police asked people to stay home if possible.

The solution?

“You get something to eat and a movie, and you wait it out,” said Phil Moore, 26, of Henrico County.

The National Weather Service called for 4 to 8 inches of snow and sleet to fall across most of the Richmond metro area Wednesday and today, with more in places. Ten to 14 inches could fall in northwestern Hanover County.

The snow will probably be the biggest in the this area since “6 inches or more” fell on Jan. 30 and Feb. 5, 2010, said Jeff Orrock, a weather service meteorologist.

The snow began late Wednesday afternoon and, within hours, the region was coated white and roads and sidewalks turned slippery.

Traffic problems began shortly after the snow started, with Virginia State Police responding to scores of accidents Wednesday afternoon, with the most reported in the Roanoke area. From about 3:50 to 5:10 p.m., troopers responded to 16 crashes in the Richmond area, according to state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

While traffic ground to a crawl on many area roads, the region appeared to have escaped the gridlock that confounded the Raleigh, N.C., area Wednesday afternoon.

Public schools in Richmond, Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico counties and many other area localities announced they will be closed today, adding to the snow days that have already forced school calendar changes. State government offices in the Richmond area also will be closed today.

The storm almost surely will drop limbs on roads and power lines, causing traffic problems and blackouts. “Be ready with alternate heat sources,” Orrock said.

The region could get more than a tenth of an inch of freezing rain, Orrock said. If you must travel, he said, be prepared to get stuck at times. Also, winds should gust to 25 mph today.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency Tuesday and urged Virginians to prepare for a major storm.

The snow was expected to be steady through Wednesday night. Early today, a mix of snow and sleet should take over before shifting to mostly freezing rain just before sunrise, said Dan Proch, another weather service meteorologist.

That should change to snow and rain about noon today, then yield to snow showers — on-and-off light snow — from early tonight to about midnight.

The weather service posted a winter storm warning Wednesday afternoon, and it’s scheduled to last until 7 tonight.

In other areas, the forecast called for 9 to 14 inches of snow and sleet in Caroline County, 10 to 14 inches in Goochland and Louisa counties, 6 to 10 inches in Amelia and Powhatan counties and 2 to 5 inches in Charles City and New Kent counties.

Farther north and west, 6 to 10 inches should fall in Northern Virginia and 10 to 18 inches along the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah Valley from Waynesboro to Winchester.

The storm was moving northeast, and some localities along the North Carolina line began getting snow early Wednesday afternoon. Martinsville, where 11.5 inches was expected, had 4 inches by late afternoon.

If you have to drive, state police suggested you use headlights, slow your speed, avoid tailgating and buckle your seat belt.

“We encourage Virginians to plan now so they are not caught out in the storm and put themselves and others at risk,” said state police Superintendent W. Steven Flaherty.

Nathan Madison, 30, a researcher at the American Civil War Center in Richmond, said he has enough kid in him to enjoy the snow. “I just like the way it looks.”


About Jerry Frey

Born 1953. Vietnam Veteran. Graduated Ohio State 1980. Have 5 published books. In the Woods Before Dawn; Grandpa's Gone; Longstreet's Assault; Pioneer of Salvation; Three Quarter Cadillac
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