Historic Triangle tackles snowfall head-on

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Snow on Waller Mill Road, Saturday, Jan. 7.
Snow on Waller Mill Road, Saturday, Jan. 7. (Sarah Fearing/WYDaily.com)

The Historic Triangle woke up under a blanket of snow Saturday morning.

While plow crews work to clear roads and officers address vehicle accidents in the area, officials from all agencies are urging residents to stay put while winter storm Helena drops up to 8 inches of snow in the area.

Williamsburg had received several inches of snow by 9 a.m. Saturday morning.

A Dominion Power outage map shows 122 customers are without power in Yorktown due to damage from the storm. Dominion estimates the power to be restored between noon and 4 p.m.

“We’ve been doing okay so far,” said Dominon spokeswoman Daisy Pridgen. “There’s only one major outage in the area, which is in northeastern North Carolina. We have had crews on standby all evening and will continue to have them throughout

One other customer is out in York County, near Grafton, the map shows.

Virginia Department of Transportation crews and personnel are working 12-hour shifts to clear area interstates, bridges, overpasses, ramps, primary roads and secondary roads, a VDOT news release said.

“We are urging people to stay off the roads at this point,” VDOT Senior Communications Specialist Dave Forster said. “Conditions are bad out there.”

There have not been any reports of broken-down plow trucks in the Hampton Roads Region, but Forster said that one plow had been struck Saturday morning in Norfolk in a minor accident.

The release asks motorists to use extreme caution when out on the roads and not to crowd plow trucks as they clear roads. VDOT’s goal is to clear all state-maintained roads so they are passable within 48 hours after the storm ends, if there are no additional accumulations, the release said.

VDOT has 550 pieces of equipment to handle the snowstorm in Hampton Roads, which includes snow plows, backhoes and spreaders, Forster said. There are also 450 crew members tackling the snow storm.

In addition to Hampton Roads district staff, VDOT has enlisted the help of “tiger teams,” which are VDOT crew members and equipment from other jurisdictions. There are three tiger teams consisting of 66 crew members and 23 VDOT trucks, 44 hired trucks.

VDOT reminds drivers:

  • Bridge decks freeze first so watch for slick conditions.
  • Always brush snow and ice from your vehicles’ windows and lights, hood and roof so the snow buildup doesn’t break loose and become a road hazard to other drivers.
  • Prepare to brake early to allow for stopping distance in poor weather conditions.
  • Know Before You Go and check traffic conditions.

James City County officials are also asking drivers to stay off the roads as much as possible, a James City County news release stated.

“If you must go out, use caution and take a cell phone with you should you need it in an emergency,” the release said.

Virginia State Police have responded to 38 traffic crashes and 12 disabled vehicles in the Hampton Roads region since 7 a.m., a Virginia State Police news release said. The area includes Hampton Roads, Tidewater, the Eastern Shore, Williamsburg, Franklin and Emporia.

“Road conditions are treacherous and Virginians are advised to stay off the roads,” the state police release said. In total, state police have responded to 106 traffic crashes and 58 disabled vehicles statewide since midnight.