Local cities, VDOT prepared for another snow storm

Snow Forecast

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Local cities and the Virginia Department of Transportation say they are geared up and ready as another snow storm appears set to hit Hampton Roads.

Snow is expected to start falling Wednesday morning, possibly between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Meteorologist Jeremy Wheeler said in his blog Wednesday that it could take even longer for snow to reach Virginia Beach.


WATCH: Live look at the radar as snow heading toward the Hampton Roads region. App users can watch here.


The region saw its first round of snowfall in 2018 a little less than two weeks ago.

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A winter storm brought blizzard conditions to parts of the viewing area, dropping several inches of snow in the process. This resulted in major impacts to secondary and neighborhood roads.

This second storm is not anticipated to be as fierce, but there could be between 1 and 3 inches of accumulation. A winter weather advisory was issued for Hampton Roads and northeast North Carolina.

Many area school districts decided to cancel school for Wednesday, ahead of the snow’s arrival.

VDOT officials say their physical resources are back up to full capacity and crews spent all day pre-treating the roads. However, the major storm from a few weeks ago did make a financial dent.

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Hampton Roads VDOT crews started the winter season with 24,000 tons of salt, 12,000 tons of sand, and 168,000 gallons of brine.

“We constantly have all of our materials stocked up,” said VDOT Communications Manager Paula Miller. “As we went through materials, we replenished them.”

What they won’t get back: the $5.3 million budgeted and already spent on winter weather. Miller said, “We did go through that budget in the snow storm Grayson just a couple weeks ago.”

That does not mean VDOT crews won’t be out on the roads this time around.

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY

“We can reach into our overall district maintenance budget and get additional funds we need to cover this next storm that we’ll be fighting,” Miller said.

That district maintenance budget is a general budget, meaning it covers things like fixing potholes and sweeping streets, so VDOT projects won’t lose money.

“We have a big maintenance budget,” Miller said. “A bigger maintenance budget than the $5.3 million budgeted just for snow and ice removal.”

On Tuesday, VDOT crews were out on the roads, finishing up the pre-treatment phase and getting ready for another potentially long week.

“We’re ready to roll again,” Miller said. “We did this, had a great deal of experience just a couple of weeks ago. But we have supplies, we have our crews gearing up.”

They don’t anticipate needing tiger teams this time around and hope drivers take their time on the roads.

Miller said, “Common sense is the best word. If you don’t have to be out when there are snow covered roads and icy roads, use common sense and stay home.”

Southside Preps

A break from the snow lasted less than a week for Chesapeake Public Works. On Wednesday, crews will be back on the streets once again trying to keep drivers safe during the storm.

“We were hoping for a little more break between the last event and the one forecasted for tomorrow certainly,” said Earl Sorey with Chesapeake Public Works. “Right now we are pretreating our bridges and overpasses putting down brine solution. We will continue to do that and then we will move to the emergency routes.”

Chesapeake crews have 35 trucks ready to go and 2,500 tons of salt and sand ready to be spread. The biggest issue will be the timing of the snow.

“We potentially could go through a couple cycles of the winter weather when we are going to be dealing with during the a.m. and p.m. commute times, particularly Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning,” Sorey added.

In Virginia Beach, crews spent the day mixing more than 2,000 tons of sand and salt.

“This is going to be a morning snow, so we are going to have a lot more traffic, including school buses,” said Drew Lankford with Virginia Beach Public Works.

Overnight, Virginia Beach crews will be begin treating bridges, overpasses and major intersections. On Wednesday, the city’s 30 trucks will be covering the city.

“It’s not the first time we’ve had one snowfall right behind the other,” Lankford added. “I think since this one doesn’t seem to be as fierce as the last one we are all stocked up and ready.”

Another round of snow. Crews say they are ready for it and ready for a change in season.

“I am ready for spring certainly,” Sorey laughed. “Not sure about the start of hurricane season, but ready for spring.”

On the Peninsula 

In Newport News, trucks sprayed brine on the main roads and secondary streets. It’s less than a week after the last snow melted, but crews started to get ready for this next storm well in advance.

“We started preparing last week because we heard about the impending weather coming and we started mounting all our spreaders and brine units last Friday,” said Newport News Street Maintenance administrator Jason Calbert.

Down the road in Hampton, the last storm took away more than half their salt supply. However, city officials said they still have 600 tons, more than enough to work through the next storm.

“We’ve been replenishing out brine supply,” Hampton spokesman Fred Gaskins said. “We are still replenishing our salt supplies.”

Crews for both cities spent Tuesday pre-treating roads. Starting Wednesday morning, their crews will go to 12 hour shifts.