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Friday weather-related closures

Jimmy LaRoue
Contact Reporterjlarouejr@vagazette.com

Friday’s closings and delays in the Williamsburg area

  • College of William and Mary — closed
  • Christopher Newport University — closed
  • York County Public Schools — closed
  • Walsingham Academy — closed
  • Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools — closed
  • Williamsburg Montessori School — closed
  • James City County government offices, facilities and parks closed, no curbside recycling
  • Williamsburg-James City County courts — closed
  • Williamsburg Regional Library — closed
  • Williamsburg city offices (garbage collection is expected to resume Friday) — closed
  • Williamsburg recycling collection rescheduled to Saturday.
  • Quarterpath Recreation Center — closed
  • Waller Mill Park — closed
  • Colonial Williamsburg — reopening at 12 p.m.
  • Sentara Velocity Urgent Care (New Town) — opening 10 a.m.
  • WATA — reopening 11 a.m. with abbreviated schedule and end as early as 7 p.m. Last pickup from Williamsburg Transportation Center 6 p.m. Route 11 and Surry lines will not run.
  • Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown — reopening 10:30 a.m.
  • Jamestown Scotland Ferry — returned to normal operations
  • Colonial Williamsburg — reopens noon

This list will be updated as reports come in.

Thursday, 5 p.m. — Road conditions

Interstate 64: All interstates and primary roads are in good to moderate condition and have been plowed, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. Some secondary roads have been plowed, VDOT said, but they remain in moderate to severe condition.

VDOT plows will work until roadways and interstates are clear, and the agency has an extra 99 pieces of equipment and 132 more employees brought in from around the state to help in Hampton Roads.

VDOT says wind gusts from 25-40 mph are making driving dangerous.

Primary road update in James City County: Route 199 has been plowed and salted but a lot of the plowed snow has accumulated on the entrance and exit ramps, making getting on and off of Route 199 dangerous, the county stated in a news release.

Pocohantas Trail and Merrimac Trail have been plowed but not treated with salt. Those roads are clear near major intersections.

Richmond Road has been plowed and treated, and is clear outside of a few areas of packed snow from the Williamsburg line to the New Kent County line.

Secondary roads: Some have been plowed, but many, such as Longhill Road, still have packed snow and ice. Olde Town Road, as of 2 p.m. this afternoon, had a mix of bare pavement and snow-covered areas.

Neighborhood Roads: Those have not yet been plowed, county officials said, as VDOT continues plowing and spreading salt and sand throughout the county.

See where VDOT has, and is plowing. …

York County government offices are closed Friday, as the primary roads in the county are clear, according to a post on the county’s Twitter page, but secondary roads are mostly snow-covered.

At Fort Eustis, it stayed open under limited operations Thursday, with only mission essential personnel required to report on time. No decision has yet been made about Friday operations at the base.

State police advise against unnecessary travel Thursday evening

With temperatures expected to drop below 10 Thursday evening, the Virginia State Police advises people to delay unneeded travel overnight into Friday morning, especially in areas impacted by the snow.

The state police cautions against drifting snow with winds upwards of 20 mph, and slick and slushy roads that will likely refreeze overnight.

So far, state police say no one has died in an accident as the result of the first winter storm of 2018, with the majority of crashes involving only damage to cars, and no injuries.

State police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said Richmond and Chesapeake field divisions will extend shifts for troopers through Thursday evening.

Through 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Virginia State Police has responded to 902 calls for service in its Richmond and Chesapeake divisions, which includes the Williamsburg area. That includes 356 accidents and 409 disabled or stuck cars.

The Friday (and beyond) forecast

The National Weather Service forecast calls for a 20 percent chance of snow, with new accumulation of less than a half inch possible with a low of 12 degrees, with wind chill values as low as -1 to -5 and winds from the northwest at 12 to 17 mph.

A wind chill advisory is in effect for the Williamsburg region from 10 p.m. Thursday to 10 a.m. Friday. Exposure can cause frostbite in about 30 minutes, according to the weather service, as well as hypothermia. Bundle up if you go out.

Tomorrow’s high is forecast to be 26, with temperatures falling to 19 in the afternoon and wind chills reaching the same -1 mark. Friday night, the weather service calls for clear skies and a low of 7, with wind chills as low as -6.

Temperatures will not get above 32 degrees until Monday, according to the National Weather Service’s forecast for the region.

Residents get outdoors following snow

Sans gloves, Mike Reposa had been shoveling with a child-sized shovel for about 45 minutes Thursday afternoon outside his apartment in Spotswood Commons, located off of Longhill Road in James City County.

Reposa, 29, a law student at the College of William and Mary, had already cleared out two parking spaces and was working on a third He said he’s comfortable in the snow and cold, having grown up in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

“I’ve only got this mini-shovel, but the snow’s soft and fluffy,” Reposa said.

Reposa didn’t need to go anywhere, and he figured since most places were closed, it wasn’t necessary anyway.

“I’ve just stayed in the whole day,” Reposa said. “Everything’s closed, so there’s nowhere to go. Might as well just sip a brandy after clearing out the snow, and that’s about it.”

Read more about how other Williamsburg area residents are handling the snow:

Father, daughter enjoy time together

James City County resident Charles Manuel is enjoying the snow day much like his daughter.

The pair plan to go sledding this afternoon, although they’re still deciding on the perfect spot. “I’m excited,” he said.

Seth Birkenmeyer

A symphonic snow day

Meanwhile, Williamsburg Symphony executive director Carolyn Keurajian has spent her snow day prepping for next week’s Cabaret and Cocktails concert and beyond.

“I am working on a few things,” Keurajian said. “But it’s nice to be home. I’ve got my dog at my feet.”

Seth Birkenmeyer

Hasn’t missed a day yet

At Olde Towne Pharmacy, owner Kelly Kale was behind the counter catching up on some paperwork.

Kale was also answering the occasional phone call — “I’ll be here until at least 4, but I’m not making bets after that” — she told one caller.

In her 30 years of owning the pharmacy, Kale said she’s never closed due to inclement weather, and so, even though many roads had yet to be plowed or treated, she was at the store when it opened at 9 a.m. Thursday.

“It was not great, but as long as you drove slow, it was alright,” Kale said.

None of the other businesses in the Olde Towne Square shopping center was open around 2 p.m. Thursday, though Kale said Tuscany Ristorante Italiano, which has separate lunch and dinnertime hours, was open for lunch.

The 7-Eleven on the corner of Olde Towne Road and Longhill Road was doing steady business at the pumps and inside the store. On the other corner, C&F Bank’s parking lot was almost completely devoid of snow.

Just past the Olde Towne Square shopping center on Olde Towne Road, the shops at Olde Towne Marketplace were closed, and other than a few footprints, the snow in its parking lot was still fresh.

Kale was concerned with the frigid temperatures Thursday evening, forecast by the National Weather Service to dip to about 7 degrees.

“We’ll see how I make it tomorrow,” Kale said. “I can’t miss a day now.”

Jimmy LaRoue

‘Muting’ the noise

In Grove, Tucker Perry said he appreciates the quiet solitude found on snow days.

“It makes everything mute,” Perry said. “It takes away from everything being so loud.”

— Seth Birkenmeyer

3 p.m. Thursday — Colleges to close Friday

The College of William and Mary will remain closed Friday, and all university events Friday are canceled also, including the women’s basketball matchup between the Tribe and Drexel, which has been rescheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday.

In a statement posted to the William and Mary website, its emergency management team will continue to monitor conditions and make a decision Friday about weekend activities. The university’s facilities management personnel are clearing and treating parking lots, pathways and roads at the school.

“To help facilitate the clearing process, only essential personnel and those already authorized to be in residence halls should be on campus,” the statement said.

Christopher Newport University in Newport News will also remain closed Friday and Saturday. Residence halls there will not reopen until 8 a.m. Sunday.

Designated CNU employees should contact their supervisors to determine work requirements. …

Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, which were closed Thursday, will stay closed Friday.

12 p.m. Thursday — Schools make the call to close Friday

The Williamsburg-James City County and York County public school divisions will close schools again Friday following the snowstorm overnight Wednesday into Thursday.

York County Public Schools also announced there will be no sports practices or other activities Saturday or Sunday due to the weather, and that essential personnel would hear from supervisors about their work schedules.

Williamsburg Premium Outlets closed Thursday and said in a message on Twitter that it planned to open Friday, but would provide a further update should that change.

Williamsburg Montessori School, which closed Thursday due to the weather, will remain closed Friday.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said its crews are working to treat roads, but due to temperatures forecast to be in the single-digits Thursday night into Friday morning, re-freezing of plowed streets may occur.

“Road conditions in the central and eastern parts of the sate currently range from isolated patches of snow or slush to snow covered,” VDOT said in a news release.

VDOT, noting the blowing snow and possible snow for some areas this afternoon, advises people to stay off the roads in storm-affected areas. It said visibility could be reduced to less than a quarter-mile at times in some areas.

With the Community of Faith’s Mission’s emergency shelter at New Town United Methodist Church currently full, James City County officials say anyone who needs shelter should call its emergency communications phone number at 566-0112. In Williamsburg, anyone needing shelter should contact the fire department (220-6220) or police department (220-2331).

11 a.m. Thursday — Williamsburg public works spreading sand/salt on city streets

City crews are plowing streets in 12-hour shifts and have focused their efforts on primary roads, according to spokeswoman Lee Ann Hartmann. She said secondary streets and subdivisions wil be plowed later Thursday and Friday.

Crews have spread about 300 tons of salt and sand on city streets, Hartmann said.

“We have a good supply, with more coming,” Hartmann said. “If you don’t have to go out, don’t go out. Give the plows room to work.”

Hartmann said the city would try to pick up trash Friday, and recycling is still on for Saturday.

Openings and closings

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown and Jamestown Settlement are both closed Thursday, after the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, which operates both, said they would both open at 10 a.m. …

Sentara Velocity Urgent Care in 4374 New Town Ave., Suite 100, will open at 12 p.m., according to a Sentara news release. …

WATA will not have bus or trolley service Thursday, but is expected to Friday, according to spokeswoman Michele Canty.

10 a.m. Thursday — Few accidents reported across Williamsburg region.

James City County Police have reported six accidents and 13 disabled cars between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to police spokeswoman Stephanie Williams.

In York County, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Shelley Ward said since midnight, the sheriff’s department has responded to three accidents and 13 disabled cars.

Williamsburg Police reported no accidents overnight but some calls for disabled cars.

Ward said she talked to one lieutenant who reported that the calls for service have not been bad. She said Route 17 in York County was snow covered, and secondary roads there were in worse shape.

Area law enforcement say none of the accidents have been serious.

The National Weather Service says there is still a chance of snow in the Williamsburg region before 1 p.m. followed by gradual clearing, with temperatures reaching 29 degrees. The forecast tonight is for clear skies and a low of 7 degrees. Friday’s high is expected to be 24 degrees.

9 a.m. Thursday — Minimal outages, no accidents in Williamsburg area

Dominion Power reports minimal outages in the Williamsburg region as of 9 a.m. Thursday, with two customers without power around Capitol Landing Road near Route 60, according to its outage map, and another customer out on Richmond Road near Vernon Avenue in Williamsburg.

Williamsburg Police spokesman Maj. Greg Riley said there have been no accidents in the city related to the snow, but it did report some cars that were stuck and needed assistance overnight.

“The roads are snow-covered and icy, even though crews are doing their best to get them cleared, so I would recommend that people remain indoors and hunker down,” Riley said. “If they don’t have to drive, stay home.”

Virginia State Police report they have responded to 466 emergency calls over the past 12 hours — from 8 p.m. Wednesday to 8 a.m. Thursday, including 226 accidents and 171 disabled cars. None have been fatal, state police said in a news release, and the majority of accidents have involved damage to cars.

In the state police’s Chesapeake region, which includes the Williamsburg area, troopers have responded to 118 accidents, 121 disabled cars and 273 emergency calls for service, according to a state police news release.

As of 8:45 a.m. Thursday, Chesapeake division troopers are responding to 26 disabled cars — those who have gotten stuck or slid off the road but do not qualify as a crash, according to the state police.

8 a.m. Thursday

The Williamsburg area woke up Thursday morning to blustery conditions and several inches of snow on the ground, with light snow still falling in the Longhill Road area of James City County around 8:15 a.m.

James City County officials advise residents to stay home and off the roads.

Snow began in the Longhill Road area of the county around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, and snow has been tapering off as of 8 a.m. Thursday, though the National Weather Service says another two inches of snow is possible before 10 a.m.

County officials said several inches of light, powdery snow fell in the county overnight.

“It is advised that motor vehicle traffic remain at a minimum today to allow VDOT crews to work on clearing the roads safely and allow for public safety personnel to respond to calls for service and keep calls for disabled motorists to a minimum,” a statement from the county said.

The county said in a news release that unless there is a widespread power outage, it did not plan to open a warming center or shelter at this time.

The county declared a state of emergency at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday following Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s declaration of a state of emergency at 2:30 p.m.

Virginia State Police has reported 101 accidents and 74 disabled cars in its Chesapeake region, which includes the Williamsburg area through 6 a.m. Thursday, the agency said in a news release. None of the accidents, according to state police, have been fatal.

Through 6:15 a.m., state troopers were responding to six reported accidents and 18 disabled cars.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has reduced service on the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry that runs from Jamestown to Surry County over the James River, it said in a news release.

VDOT says it is operating the ferry with just one boat due to high winds, and service would increase to two boats when the winds diminish. The ferry is scheduled to leave on the hour from Surry County and on the half-hour from Jamestown through 5 a.m. Friday.

Thirteen VDOT Tiger Teams with 66 trucks from across Virginia have been arriving in Hampton Roads throughout the early morning hours Thursday to aid in snow treatment, according to a VDOT news release.

VDOT cautions that if travel is necessary, drivers should go at low speeds, give space to other cars and slow down and give the right of way to plows and other heavy equipment.

For more Virginia Gazette and Daily Press snow coverage:

Williamsburg braces for winter storm warning, closures (Virginia Gazette)

Community of Faith Mission extends shelter hours (Virginia Gazette)

Snow, colder temperatures heading to Williamsburg region (Virginia Gazette)

More snow to come in area, says National Weather Service (Daily Press)

Hampton Roads weather-related delays, closures and cancellations (Daily Press)

Chilly winter weather can’t compete with deep freezes of the past (Daily Press)

LaRoue can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342, by email at jlarouejr@vagazette.com or on Twitter @jlaroue.

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