Winter storm brings blizzard conditions to Hampton Roads

Snow covers the pagoda in Norfolk during a winter storm on Jan. 4, 2017. (Credit: Fred Rose).

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — A winter storm brought blizzard conditions to Hampton Roads and northeast North Carolina Thursday, causing widespread issues in the process.

PHOTOS: Snow hits Hampton Roads

Heavy snowfall and strong winds covered nearly the entire region up to the southern tip of the Eastern Shore and past the Middle Peninsula.

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Snow started falling Wednesday evening and continued to be steady throughout the morning and into Thursday afternoon. Parts of the Eastern Shore were still getting snow around 5 p.m.

The snow subsided by Thursday evenin, but the frigid cold and icy roads continued to be a major problem into Friday. Tow trucks were working around the clock in Hampton Roads to clear and salt roads, but drivers were asked to be aware that many could refreeze as temperatures hover in the single digits and low teens overnight.

Schools around the viewing area announced closures for Friday.

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WAVY’s team of Super Doppler 10 meteorologists complied a list of estimated snowfall totals for the region. The totals varied from 11 inches in the Great Bridge area of Chesapeake and in Hampton, 10 inches in Norfolk, 7.5 inches in Newport News and 4 inches in Elizabeth City.

Major problems were seen up and down the coverage area during Thursday’s storm. Officials with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel alerted motorists that the roadway was closed Thursday morning due to the conditions, before being reopened later in the day.

Several flight departures and arrivals were cancelled early Thursday.

At the Oceanfront on Thursday morning, winds were gusting up to 50 mph. Winds were slightly lower inland, with areas including Norfolk and Chesapeake experiencing gusts in the mid-20’s and low 30 mph range.

The peak wind gust for the region was whopping 69 mph in Tangier. NAS Oceana saw a peak gust of 61 mph, while Hampton had a gust of 52 mph.

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Tens of thousands of outages were reported in the southeast region of the state Thursday morning , according to Dominion Energy Virginia. A vast majority of the outages were reported in several incidents across Virginia Beach.

An increasing number of outages were reported in cities like Norfolk and Chesapeake as the sun started to rise. Crews worked long hours Thursday and evenutally had the outages down to less than 600 between North Carolina and eastern Virginia.

Visibility was difficult with the combination of wind and snow. WAVY’s Marielena Balouris reported the conditions made it hard walk around in some places of Virginia Beach. Roads were blanketed in snow across the region.

The Virginia Department of Transportation posted a time-lapse video from its I-264/64 project camera showing the snowfall from Wednesday night to early Thursday.

Much like in Virginia Beach, road conditions were treacherous in Hampton. Similar snow drifts were seen along Mercury Boulevard — leading to some drivers get stalled out.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm’s arrival. The Virginia National Guard staged nearly100 troops across key Hampton Roads locations to assist in the snow response.

Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team prepare for possible winter storm response operations Jan. 3, 2018, in Norfolk. Approximately 100 Soldiers are staged and ready at key locations in the Hampton Roads area as part of the state’s multi-agency response. (Credit: Virginia National Guard).

Several local school districts closed early Wednesday, and remained closed Thursday.

The National Weather Service on Wednesday issued a blizzard warning for much of Southside Hampton Roads. Other surrounding parts of the region remained under a winter storm warning.