FRONT ROYAL — The calendar says spring has sprung, but the fresh snow on the ground says something totally different.
Old Man Winter this week gave Warren County a quick pair of parting shots.
Two winter storms in succession passed through the area Tuesday and Wednesday. The first system arrived Tuesday morning, starting as rain and sleet and leaving behind a dusting of snow and a sheet of ice. After a brief respite, the second system arrived late Tuesday with the heavy snow.
“Probably, for most of the area, this is going to be the biggest [snowstorm] of the season, even though it’s spring,” said Jason Elliott, meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Sterling.
By noon Wednesday, about six inches had accumulated near Linden, according to a National Weather Service spotter. About three inches had fallen near Nineveh and in Front Royal.
While the storms were expected, the extended warm spell and the rainy beginning meant roads were not pretreated with brine, the Virginia Department of Transportation said Tuesday in a news release.
By Wednesday morning, however, VDOT had activated crews on 12-hour shifts to clear the main highways throughout the region.
State and local law-enforcement agencies also were busy responding to weather-related crashes throughout the county and region Tuesday and Wednesday.
“It’s pretty rough out there,” a Warren County Sheriff’s deputy said while stopping for coffee Wednesday morning at a town establishment.
It was still snowing at press time late Wednesday afternoon, but was expected to stop shortly afterward. However, Elliott advised residents to use extra caution outside for the next few days.
Daytime temperatures are expected to rise above the freezing point, causing the snow to begin melting. That water is expected to refreeze as the nighttime temperature drops below 32 degrees.
That cycle is expected to repeat tonight and Friday.
“The mornings are going to be pretty icy,” Elliott said.
On Saturday, there’s a chance for another storm and another day of the thaw-freeze cycle. That storm is not expected to be as severe as the one Tuesday night and Wednesday.
“It won’t be this,” Elliott said.