HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – With forecasts predicting the third winter storm this season to dump several inches of snow on Virginia, cities across Hampton Roads began seeing accumulation Wednesday afternoon, which turned to rain by the early evening.
Some parts of Hampton Roads saw snow begin to fall before 3 p.m. and quickly accumulate. By Thursday morning, most of the snow had been washed away by the rain.
Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm Tuesday, which authorized state agencies to prepare to assist local governments in responding to the third major snow storm for the state this winter.
Areas farther up the Peninsula and closer to Richmond were expected to see more accumulation during this round of snow. WAVY’s Jason Marks reported snow began falling in Williamsburg around 4 p.m. and accumulating on grassy areas and parking lots around 5 p.m. By 9 p.m., that snowfall had transitioned to rain, melting snow from roadways.
Williamsburg Public Works crews said they have 450 tons of sand-salt mixture to treat roads. They told WAVY.com they would begin spreading the mixture once the roads were a little wet from the precipitation.
While Southside cities were expected to get more rain than snow, WAVY’s Lauren Compton reported flurries in Suffolk around 3 p.m. and heavy snowfall and some accumulation around 5 p.m. Around 8 p.m., Compton reported the snow had changed over to light rain, melting the snow accumulation on roads.
Suffolk Public Works said crews pre-treated bridges and overpasses on Tuesday and will be working 12-hour shifts, applying salt and sand to any snow-covered roads.
WAVY’s Erin Kelly reported precipitation was just rain in Chesapeake, as of 8 p.m. Wednesday. She said area roads were clear.
Portsmouth Public Works crews are also treating bridges and overpasses, but in Chesapeake, City officials say crews have not pretreated roads, because the brine solution they use is ineffective in a wet storm, like this one. However, 18 trucks are stocked and ready to treat roads where needed.
Thursday morning, WAVY News’ Lex Gray found the Hague beginning to overflow just before high tide.
The Virginia Department of Transportation said its crews were prepared for the winter weather, with more than 300 pieces of equipment available for snow and ice removal. Most interstates and major roads were pre-treated Tuesday into Wednesday.
As of Wednesday evening, most VDOT crews had transitioned to snow and ice removal and applying abrasives to roads the help with traction.
From 4 p.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Thursday, Virginia State Police responded to 841 traffic crashes and 515 disabled vehicles across the Commonwealth, VSP spokeswoman Corinne Geller said. The dispatch center fielded 2,249 calls for service.
For the VSP Chesapeake Division, troopers responded to 178 traffic crashes and 55 disabled vehicles with 410 calls for service in the same time frame.
10 On Your Side spoke with drivers in Hampton Roads who said traveling the roads during the storm was tricky.
“I had to follow a tractor trailer because the roads were covered with snow,” said Suffolk resident Willie Boone, Jr. “The plow truck was putting down sand, but it looked like they were a little bit too late, because we didn’t see the lines in the roads. I saw people’s cars in ditches, so we’re trying to take our time to get home.”
“I think there is more caution in this storm than the last storm,” said Suffolk resident Tony Palermo. “Once you see a vehicle off on the side of the road, that should open your eyes so that’s why you have to watch out.”