Peninsula cities and counties and the Virginia Department of Transportation will be checking equipment and monitoring the weather this week, after the National Weather Service on Tuesday predicted a 40 percent to 50 percent chance of snow on the Peninsula this weekend.
As the National Weather Service gains a handle on the snow's track, it will adjust the percentage chance of snow, said Scott Minnick, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield.
After a warm, cloudy Wednesday, with a high of almost 60 degrees, the temperature will begin to drop on Thursday, with rain beginning Thursday night. The rain is forecast to turn to snow Friday night as temperatures drop into the 20s. Early forecasts call for as much as six inches of snow Friday night and Saturday. The high temperature Saturday, Sunday and Monday is expected to be right around 30, so any snow that does fall is likely to remain on the ground into next week.
VDOT will be watching as the forecast is adjusted.
"We are checking equipment, topping off salt supplies, salt silos," Dave Forster, a VDOT spokesman, said by phone. The department is also replenishing fuel in storage tanks and trucks.
The department has plans in place for weather events that require additional service and employees, Forster said. Those plans have not yet been activated. That decision is a part of the monitoring process the department is going through this week, he said.
The city of Hampton began preparing for snow two months ago, according to Frederick Gaskins, communications coordinator for the city.
"More than 200 employees have been cross-training to be able to operate different pieces of equipment, including snow plows, salt spreaders" and other equipment, Gaskins said via email.
The city's Public Works Department has 1,400 tons of salt, 15,000 gallons of liquid salt solution and 5,000 gallons of calcium chloride, Gaskins said. The Public Works Department is prepared to start winter weather treatment Friday afternoon, by pretreating bridges, overpasses and maintaining primary roadways, Gaskins said.
Newport News will increase staff and distribute brine on roadways if the forecast holds steady or worsens, according to Anita Walters, a city spokeswoman
York County staff will be on call to help clear out public areas including sidewalks, Gail Whittaker, public information officer for the county, said. Gloucester and Isle of Wight Counties will also call in crews to clear public areas if necessary, officials said.
Hampton public schools spokeswoman Diana Gulotta said the schools are resending bad weather procedures to principals and monitoring the forecast. Michelle Price, public information director for Newport News schools, said any changes to school schedules will be based on roadway access. A few snow flurries will be fine, Price said. However, any accumulation could possible cause changes to schedule, she said.
Ace Peninsula Hardware manager Greg Zupka decided Tuesday afternoon to order at least four additional pallets of snow melt. The forecasted snow and the beginning of the winter season were good enough reasons to order additional supplies, Zupka said.
Smith can be reached by phone at 757-510-1663.