Winter storm bearing down on Hampton Roads

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on January 20, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 22 at 12:43 AM

1/21 UPDATE: The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles says snow has fallen throughout Hampton Roads and they are working to keep roadways safe. 

Crews are responding to affected areas and will apply sand and salt to roadways throughout the evening to give drivers traction and to melt snow and ice.

Officials say snow removal efforts will focus first on interstates and primary roads, and then shift to secondary roads as conditions improve.

Near white-out conditions were reported in Chesapeake Tuesday night.

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NORFOLK -- Hampton Roads is preparing for another winter blast of cold air, but this one will bring a much better chance for some snow. In fact, the odds of accumulation with this storm are probably at least 80%. 

All of southeast Virginia is under a Winter Storm Warning from 4 p.m. until 3 a.m. Wednesday.

As a very strong cold front approaches Tuesday, late afternoon and evening temperatures are expected to fall very quickly and that will change rain to to snow.

Amounts could total one inch to as much as five inches across parts of Hampton Roads, says 13News Now Meteorologist Craig Moeller.

The other big news is that it will be very cold, and with a strong wind it will feel brutally cold.

"Wind chills at times will be below zero Tuesday night and in the single digits for Wednesday, with actual temperatures ranging from the teens Tuesday night to the mid 20s on Wednesday," added 13News Now Chief Meteorologist Jeff Lawson said.   

Thursday and Friday won't be as cold, but with highs around freezing it is still way below normal for January in Hampton Roads. 

With very cold air moving in Tuesday night and Wednesday, the snow that does fall and stick will be with us Wednesday and area roadways could be heavily impacted.

VDOT says crews have already started pre-treating roads. 

Pre-treatment is a form of anti-icing where chemicals are applied to area roads up to 48 hours before a winter storm. This prevents a bond from forming between the pavement and the snow and ice after the storm starts, officials explained.

Police and VDOT say if the storm comes as predicted, stay off the roads if at all possible.

Click here for winter travel information from VDOT

According to VDOT, crews will first begin clearing roads with the highest traffic volumes - interstates and primary roads and then major secondary roads followed by subdivision streets, VDOT officials said. 

VDOT says their goal is to have all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours after a winter storm ends.

At the Dowtown and Midtown tunnels, crews with Elizabeth River Tunnels are monitoring road conditions and applying anti-icing materials, concentrating on bridges and associated ramps. Beginning Tuesday night, additional crews and safety service patrols will be on alert and will remain staffed throughout the storm’s duration. Officials say more than 600 tons of salt and sand are on hand at ERT’s headquarters in Portsmouth to combat winter weather.

Click here for the WVEC.com Weather Center.

Thousands of flights across the country were delayed or cancelled because of the storm. Airlines suggest you check with them before heading to Norfolk International or Newport News-Williamsburg International if you're planning to fly north or have visitors coming in from areas like Philadelphia, New York or Detroit.

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