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Winter Storm Warning in Effect: Watch for updates

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By Tom Wilmoth

Town of Bedford, Virginia Government

 

Due to the upcoming storm, Town of Bedford offices will be closed tomorrow, Friday January 22. Please try to limit travel, and snow emergency routes will be in effect. Crews will begin treating roads tomorrow morning and will begin plowing as soon as the snow accumulation is greater than 2". Crews will work the primary and secondary roads around the clock, and will clear residential and side streets within 24 hours of the storm's end.

 

SALEM DISTRICT: MOTORISTS URGED TO AVOID TRAVEL DURING UPCOMING WEATHER EVENT


SALEM
– With a significant winter weather event anticipated to impact portions of southwestern Virginia in the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 22, through the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 23, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is urging motorists to avoid travel during this storm.  Snow is expected to fall heavily at times and create hazardousdriving conditions.
On Thursday, Salem District crews will be pre-treating roads with brine ahead of this storm. VDOT snow plow operators and contractors will be monitoring road conditions and working in 12-hour shifts around the clock to plow roads.

Drivers should be aware of the following:

  • As long as snow continues to fall, snowplow operators will be making passes over the interstates, primary roads (those numbered 1-599) and high-volume secondary routes and will not proceed to low-volume secondary routes (those numbered 600 and above) or neighborhood streets.  The major routes are VDOT’s top priority for snow removal during a weather event.
  • Windy conditions are forecasted during and after this storm. Snow could be heavy at times limiting driver visibility and drifting could cover previously plowed roadways.  Gusty winds may down trees or utility lines and road debris could block roads.
  • Drivers are also reminded to park in driveways where possible and not on the street. 
  • VDOT does not plow snow on private roads or driveways.  Residents are encouraged to shovel driveways to the right when facing the roadway to reduce how much snow a plow pushes back into the driveway as it passes.  

Real-time information on road conditions, traffic incidents and congestion on Virginia roads is available using VDOT’s 511 free mobile app or the www.511Virginia.org website and phone system.  For more information on winter travel, visit http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/snow.asp.

To report debris, downed trees or other hazards on the roadway, call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-367-ROAD (7623).   Use 911 only for emergencies. 

The Salem District includes the counties of Bedford, Botetourt, Carroll, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Henry, Montgomery, Patrick, Pulaski, and Roanoke.

 

Appalachian Power Storm Preparation Update

Thursday, January 21, 2016 – 2:45 p.m.

 

Appalachian Power is continuing to prepare for a weather system that is expected to damage electrical facilities and cause outages across its West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee service areas Friday and Saturday.

 

Weather

The expected track of the storm indicates deepsnowfall across much of the company’s service area. Current forecasts show the largest snow accumulation hitting the northern Roanoke and Christiansburg districts Friday into Saturday. These areas are expected to see 1-2 feet of moderately wet snow. The West Virginia service territory is expected to see 8-14 inches of wet snow, with a majority coming Friday midday to evening.

 

Forecasts continue to indicate the storm will cause damage that will result in significant outages in at least portions of the company’s service area.

 

Storm Preparation Efforts

Appalachian Power is securing 750 line workers and another 100 damage assessment specialists from outside the company’s service area to assist with service restoration. In anticipation of poor travel conditions during and after the storm, the plan is to have these additional resources in place this evening. In Virginia, the staging locations for crews are: Lynchburg, Roanoke and Wytheville. In West Virginia, the staging locations are: Charleston, Logan and Beckley.

 

In 2015, Appalachian Power enhanced its emergency response process by adopting an Incident Command System (ICS) similar to ones used by local, state and federal government agencies. The system was implemented at 11 a.m. Thursday morning in anticipation of the approaching winter storm. The system allows Appalachian Power to streamline and unify its response to storms and other emergencies.   

 

For More Information

This update provides a broad overview of the company’s restoration efforts.

Customers can get specific information about the outages affecting their accounts via text message and/or email by subscribing to Appalachian Power outage alerts.To sign up, please visit www.appalachianpower.com/alerts.  

A snapshot view of current outages is available anytime at www.appalachianpower.com. Go to the Outages and Problems section of the site and click "View Outage Map."

Safety Message

Customers can take practical steps to stay safe during outages by assembling an emergency kit with flashlights and fresh batteries; candles, matches, or lighters; water for drinking and cooking; canned goods and a manual can opener, and other supplies. A mobile cell phone charger also is useful. Additional safety tips are posted at https://www.appalachianpower.com/outages/faq/OutageSafetyTips.aspx. In outages during very cold weather, customers can assist restoration efforts by keeping electric heating systems and water heaters turned off until several minutes after power is restored.

 

Issued by The National Weather Service

Roanoke/Blacksburg, VA

11:29am EST, Thu Jan 21

... WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 AM EST SUNDAY...

* LOCATIONS... FROM MOST OF SOUTHEAST WEST VIRGINIA... EAST TO ALONG AND NORTH OF HIGHWAY 460 FROM THE NEW RIVER VALLEY EAST TO LYNCHBURG AND APPOMATTOX.

* HAZARD TYPES... HEAVY SNOW.

* ACCUMULATIONS... 14 TO 20 INCHES... LOCALLY HIGHER ALONG AND EAST OF THE BLUE RIDGE NORTH OF ROANOKE... AND LYNCHBURG.

* TIMING... SNOW BEGINNING NEAR DAWN IN THE NEW RIVER VALLEY... TO MID MORNING NORTH OF LEWISBURG... TO COVINGTON... TO APPOMATTOX. SNOW CONTINUES THROUGH SATURDAY EVENING.

* IMPACTS... SIGNIFICANT TRAVEL IMPACTS DUE TO SNOW COVERED ROADS. TRAVEL WILL LIKELY BECOME IMPOSSIBLE IN MANY AREAS.

* WINDS... NORTHEAST 5 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH... ESPECIALLY SATURDAY.

* TEMPERATURES... IN THE 20S MOST AREA... BUT AROUND 30 SATURDAY IN THE PIEDMONT AND AROUND ROANOKE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL... KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT... FOOD... AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

THE PUBLIC IS ENCOURAGED TO REPORT SNOWFALL AMOUNTS TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE VIA EMAIL AT RNK.

More Information

... MAJOR WINTER STORM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY NIGHT...

.STRONG LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL TRACK FROM THE TENNESSEE VALLEY THROUGH THE CAROLINAS TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING... THEN HEAD NORTHEAST OFF THE MID ATLANTIC COAST BY SATURDAY NIGHT. SIGNIFICANT SNOW ACCUMULATIONS CAN BE EXPECTED OVER MOST OF THE REGION... WITH SOME SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN MIXING IN ACROSS SOUTHERN AREAS ALONG AND SOUTH OF THE NORTH CAROLINA BORDER.

 

Keeping Food Safe

Here are a few links to some Food Safety Info Sheets that specifically talk about power outages and how to handle foods.  These are a bit more pertinent in hot weather, where refrigerated or cold foods might not be able to hold their temperature as well.  The most important thing to note is that any food that you have that goes above 41 F for more than 2 hours should be discarded.  

Food Safety Info Sheet: Be ready for storms: 

http://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/3108/3108-7021/3108-7021_pdf.pdf

Food Safety Info Sheet: Recovering from storms: FROZEN FOOD

http://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/3108/3108-7023/3108-7023_PDF.pdf

Food Safety Info Sheet: Recovering from storms: REFRIGERATED FOOD

http://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/3108/3108-7024/3108-7024_PDF.pdf