HARRISONBURG — State and local officials are advising residents of the central Valley to prepare for a major winter storm that could bring more than a foot of snow to some parts of the region starting later today.
The storm, which was affecting Texas and Louisiana on Tuesday, is moving toward Virginia, with arrival expected here as early as this evening, and to continue overnight and into Thursday.
“There is a chance that there might be a little bit of freezing rain mixing in, but most of the time it will be snow,” said Kyle Struckmann, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling.
Forecasts call for 8 to 10 inches of snow accumulation in Rockingham and Shenandoah counties, with 10 to 14 inches in the eastern parts of the counties and at elevations above 2,000 feet, he said. Page County is expected to receive similar amounts of snow.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning Tuesday for 6 p.m. today through 6 p.m. Thursday, meaning severe weather conditions are expected and significant snowfall will make travel dangerous.
On Tuesday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency. The declaration empowers the departments of emergency management and transportation, the Virginia National Guard, and electric and cable utilities to prepare to deal with power outages and travel challenges.
“Just as state government is preparing for this storm, I urge every Virginian to take proper preparations. Prepare to limit unnecessary travel during the storm, have emergency supplies on hand and be ready in the event that power in your area goes out,” McAuliffe stated in a press release.
Meanwhile, Harrisonburg city officials are taking precautions and planning ahead. On Tuesday, Department of Public Works officials were applying a liquid pretreatment on the primary routes, designated streets serving emergency facilities, and other areas.
“This pretreatment will help the precipitation melt once it hits the road,” Mary-Hope Vass, the city’s public information officer said, adding the best time to apply it is during a dry day like Tuesday, because the pretreatment won’t be as effective if rain comes before the snow.
Virginia Department of Transportation crews also were conducting anti-icing operations on major roadways across the state in preparation for the storm.
Vass urged city residents to monitor the weather and plan their commutes for this evening and Thursday morning accordingly.
And, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services urged farmers to prepare ahead of time for power outages, structural or crop damage, insurance claims and damage that can accompany a strong winter storm.
Additional weather-related information and city notices will be posted at www.HarrisonburgVA.gov and on the city’s social media sites. For the latest state road condition information, call 511, go to www.511virginia.org or download the 511 mobile app.
Contact Jonathon Shacat at 574-6286 or firstname.lastname@example.org