‘Stay Home’: Governor, VDOT ask residents to remain inside during storm

Published 1:37 am Saturday, January 6, 2024

Even after the ice turns to rain, stay home. That was the request Friday night from both Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and officials with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), as Central and Southside prepare for Saturday’s storm. 

“I urge Virginians to stay home, monitor your local weather forecasts and take personal precautions to ensure your safety,” Youngkin said in a statement. 

Let’s talk about that forecast for a minute. If you’re in Farmville this morning, there’s a good chance you’ll only see a bit of ice before the freezing rain moves in. Farmville is under a Winter Weather Advisory until 10 a.m., as is Prince Edward, Buckingham and Cumberland counties. Buckingham County will catch most of the wintery mix, according to the National Weather Service, with freezing rain and sleet expected from midnight until noon on Saturday, especially in Dillwyn and parts north. With a high of only 36, NWS officials out of Wakefield warn that any ice or sleet that melts during the day will freeze later in the afternoon once the temperature drops. 

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As for Cumberland and Prince Edward counties, the NWS officials to mainly expect freezing rain. Cumberland could see a “light accumulation of ice and/or snow” in the morning hours, but Prince Edward is expected to just see rain during the day, all of which will freeze as the night goes on. 

“Not much change in the forecast for the local area with this weekend’s storm,” the NWS Wakefield staff said in a statement. “Expect a period of wintry mix at the onset, with most areas changing to all rain by late morning or early afternoon. Snow is more likely to our west.”

Rain will freeze, VDOT warns

Just because it’s supposed to rain for most of the day, that doesn’t mean things will be safe. All of that water on the road is expected to freeze as temperatures drop later in the day. 

VDOT and contract crews will mobilize early Saturday morning to plow and treat roadways and will continue for as long as conditions exist. Crews will concentrate first on primaries before moving to major secondary roads, then onto lesser-traveled routes.

“Refreeze and black ice are of particular concern late Saturday night into early Sunday morning,” VDOT officials said in a statement. “Remember, ice tends to form first on bridges, overpasses, and ramps.” 

In preparation for the storm, VDOT crews began pre-treating primary and major secondary roads throughout the area on Thursday and continued on Friday. 

So far, there have been very few closings or postponements. The only one as of Friday night involves the Prince Edward County convenience sites. All of the sites will open at 11 a.m. today, while the county landfill will be closed today, Jan. 6.