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Central Virginia deals with latest round of wintry weather

From snow plows and spreaders to car crashes and power outages

Mixed bag of winter weather in Altavista
Mixed bag of winter weather in Altavista

CAMPBELL COUNTY, Va. – Though they weren’t hit as hard as other areas, Central Virginia is dealing with the latest round of wintry weather.

It was all hands on deck for Lynchburg’s public works department on Thursday as crews worked 12-hour shifts and kept busy plowing and salting roadways.

They started to see pavement on primary and secondary roads by the morning, but under that was a good amount of ice.

Clay Simmons, deputy director of the Hill City’s public works, said their biggest challenge is freezing rain.

“With the materials that we have, ice doesn’t melt very well from the top down, so salt is not particularly effective in those situations. So, really, it’s that bond between the pavement and freezing material,” said Simmons.

Even if primary and secondary roadways are clear, Simmons said crews will need time to get into residential areas, so the department asks for residents to be patient.

Meanwhile, traveling from Lynchburg to Altavista, 10 News came across Virginia State Police responding to a motor vehicle accident on U.S. 29 South near the intersection of Wards and Calohan Roads.

Officials said the driver lost control of a Volkswagen Jetta and crashed into the embankment. The driver was the only person in the vehicle and transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

Continuing along U.S. 29 South, utility crews were busy replacing poles and wires.

In Altavista, you could see a fleet of utility crews in a nearby parking lot, getting ready to head back out on the road.

VDOT was also on the roads throughout Central Virginia, and officials encourage motorists to stay home.

“I just recommend that if people don’t have to go out, don’t. Give us the space and the time; the safety factor to be able to get our work accomplished as well; so the conditions will be better when people do have to get back out on the roads,” said Paula Jones, a VDOT spokesperson representing parts of Central Virginia.

Jones said crews were able to open more roads that were still closed from last week’s storm, and they’ll slowly make progress over the next few days.

“Temperatures continue to hover at or very close to freezing, and we know it’s going to dip again tonight. We expect there will be some refreeze; so we’re doing our best to get as much of it off the roads and kick it back and try to avoid as much refreeze as possible,” said Jones.

But there are more debris and power lines down throughout the region, which could lead to more power outages.

Fire officials suggest if you lose power, try to get your family into one room and close the doors and blinds because it generates more heat, make sure you have mobile devices charged and plenty of batteries; and if you’re using a generator, do not use it indoors and keep an eye on it.

Regardless of where you live, the advice is the same: stay home, stay warm, and stay off the roads.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.