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Snow, colder temperatures headed to Williamsburg region

Jimmy LaRoue
Contact Reporterjlarouejr@vagazette.com

Baby, it’s beyond cold outside.

On top of the frigid start to 2018, residents of the Williamsburg region, now under a Winter Storm Watch from the National Weather Service, should get their emergency supply kits in order, as up to 4 inches of snow are forecast for Wednesday night into Thursday.

The forecast calls for a high of 36 Wednesday, with a chance of snow after 4 p.m., the bulk of it falling after 7 p.m., and a low of 21. About a half inch or less of snow could fall before 1 p.m. Thursday’s temperatures are not expected to rise above freezing, and winds of 13 to 16 mph, with gusts up to 24 mph, will come from the coastal storm.

High temperatures are not expected to rise above 32 degrees until Sunday, with lows ranging from 10 to 21 degrees.

The forecast has local and state emergency management officials taking action ahead of the storm.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is making preparations and began pre-treating roads across Hampton Roads Monday to help prevent ice from staying on the pavement and to aid with snow and ice removal.

VDOT said it had 469 pieces of equipment available to help with snow and ice removal, including trucks with plows and salt spreaders, as well as front end loaders and backhoes.

While VDOT handles road treatment in James City and York counties, Williamsburg’s public works department takes care of its own roads due to its smaller size, according to city spokeswoman Lee Ann Hartman. She said the city would be putting brine on its roads Wednesday ahead of the storm. The city also has about 500 tons of a sand/salt mix to treat the streets afterwards, she said.

Local emergency management officials participated in a conference call Tuesday afternoon with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service.

James City County Emergency Manager Sara Ruch said residents should stay informed about the storm, prepare their emergency kits and take care of their neighbors and pets in need.

“Stay informed, be prepared, make a plan and make a kit,” Ruch said.

NWS forecast

Wednesday: Chance of snow after 4 p.m., increasing clouds with a high of 36. Winds 5 mph or less. Chance of precipitation 30 percent and snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Wednesday night: Snow likely, mainly after 7 p.m. Cloudy with a low around 21. North wind 5 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation 60 percent. Snow accumulation of 2-4 inches possible.

Thursday: A chance of snow before 1 p.m. Mostly sunny with a high near 32. Northwest wind 13 to 16 mph, with gusts up to 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent. Snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Thursday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 11.

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 25.

Friday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 10.

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 23.

Saturday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 12.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 35.

Tips for dealing with cold, snow

  • Thoroughly check and update your family’s emergency supply kit. Include warm clothing and blankets.
  • Have fireplaces or wood stoves checked professionally, especially if it’s been a long time since last cleaning.
  • Be safe when using generators and space heaters. Generators should not be placed indoors due to carbon monoxide poisoning, and do not plug space heaters into extension cords.
  • Avoid using candles during power outages.
  • If you have pets, bring them inside. If they must stay outside, be sure they have shelter and insulation from the cold, food and unfrozen water.
  • Avoid travel during winter weather.
  • If you must drive during a winter storm, know the road conditions before you leave and let someone know where you are going. 511 Virginia.org has real-time traffic and road conditions. There is also a phone app available.
  • Fill your car’s gas tank and keep an updated car emergency kit.

Go to vaemergency.gov/prepare-recover/threat/winter-weather for more information.

Source: Virginia Department of Emergency Management

Taking care of your car in cold weather

  • Clear any corrosion from battery posts and cable connections and wash all surfaces with battery terminal cleaner or a solution of baking soda and water. Have battery checked by a car care professional to ensure it’s strong enough to endure cold weather.
  • Have any engine problems corrected at a good repair shop.
  • Replace worn windshield-wiper blades.
  • Inspect all lights and replace burned out bulbs.
  • Have a qualified auto technician check exhaust system.
  • Examine tires for tread depth, uneven wearing and cupping.
  • Check all fluids to make sure they are at or above minimum safe levels.
  • Prepare an emergency kit for winter weather: a bag of abrasive material or traction mats, snow shovel, flashlight with extra batteries, window washer solvent, ice scraper with brush, cloth or roll or paper towels, jumper cables, extra warm clothing, blankets, warning devices, drinking water, non-perishable snacks for human and pet passengers, first-aid kit, basic toolkit and a mobile phone and car charger.

Source: AAA Tidewater

Getting out of the cold

Quarterpath Recreation Center, 202 Quarterpath Road, Williamsburg, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1-8 p.m. Sunday.

Williamsburg Library, 515 Scotland St., 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

James City County Library, 7770 Croaker Road., 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

James City County Recreation Center, 5301 Longhill Road, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 1-6 p.m. Sunday.

Community of Faith Mission emergency shelter

This week the Community of Faith Mission emergency shelter is being held at New Town United Methodist Church, 5209 Monticello Ave., Williamsburg. Shelter hours are 6:30 p.m. to 7 a.m each night, and there is a maximum capacity of 25 people each night. Details: cofm.info.

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

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