Governor Advises Virginians To Prepare For Storm - ABC 8NEWS - WRIC | Richmond, Virginia News & Weather

Governor Advises Virginians To Prepare For Storm

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - State highways crews are treating roads in Virginia ahead of an expected ice storm.

Workers for the Virginia Department of Transportation used salt brine and anti-icing chemicals Saturday along interstates and primary roads in the Staunton, Salem, Northern Virginia and Culpeper regions.
    
VDOT suggests that motorists avoid driving during the storm. Those that do should make sure their vehicles are stocked with emergency supplies.
    
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for at least 32 counties in central, southwestern and Southside Virginia. Accumulations of up to an inch of snow and sleet are likely through Sunday afternoon, followed by up to a half inch of ice through Monday morning.
    
Other areas could see up to 3 inches of snow before changing to freezing rain on Sunday night.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

 

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Millions hunkered down for icy conditions expected to last through the weekend from Texas to Ohio to Tennessee as a cold snap covered much of the nation, knocking out power and making roads treacherous Saturday.

Face-stinging sleet, thick snow and blustery winds led to slick road conditions, school closures and event cancellations as the wintry blast dropped temperatures to freezing and below overnight Saturday.

A treacherous section of icy Interstate 35 about 50 miles north of Dallas has been closed intermittently for as long as five hours as tractor-trailers were unable to climb a hill and then clog the busy highway, Texas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Michelle Releford said Saturday. The backup can extend for miles.

Three traffic-related deaths were reported, one in Arlington and two in Oklahoma.

And about 117,000 customers in the Dallas area were without power Saturday morning and more than 350 departing flights from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport had been cancelled in the morning, the airport said. About 3,330 passengers had stayed overnight in the terminals.

In California, four people died of hypothermia in the San Francisco Bay Area while the region was gripped by freezing temperatures.

Freezing rain and sleet are likely again Saturday night in Memphis, Nashville and other areas of Tennessee before the storm starts surging northeast.

"It looks like we're going to be stuck with this for one, two, maybe three days," said Memphis attorney Sam Chafetz, who was going home early to enjoy some bourbon-soaked sweet potatoes left over from Thanksgiving.

"I'm not afraid of the ice and snow, I'm afraid of the other drivers who don't know how to drive in it," Chafetz said.

Virginia officials warned residents of a major ice storm likely to take shape Sunday, resulting in power outages and hazards on the roads.

State Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Laura Southard said the storm had the potential to be a "historic ice event."

"This forecast is very concerning to us," Southard said. "I've worked multiple disasters, but I've never worked an ice storm with a forecast like this."

The weather forced the cancellation of Sunday's Dallas Marathon, which was expected to draw 25,000 runners, some of whom had trained for months.

Meanwhile, around 7 inches of snow fell in northeast Arkansas and the Missouri boot heel, according to the National Weather Service in Memphis. Ice accumulated on trees and power lines in Memphis and the rest of West Tennessee after layers of sleet fell throughout the region Friday. The weather service says 8 to 9 inches fell in parts of southern Indiana.

The storm dumped a foot of snow and more in some areas of Illinois, with police scrambling to respond to dozens of accidents and forced scores of schools to remain closed.

Western and central Kentucky were under winter storm warnings slated to last through early Saturday. With warmer temperatures expected in eastern Kentucky, forecasters issued a flood watch into Saturday morning.

Looking ahead, the National Weather Service says a wind chill advisory is in effect for parts of northeast Arkansas and the Missouri boot heel. Forecasters say wind chill readings between zero and minus-5 degrees may occur.

Delivery delays may occur in areas where the storm caused unsafe driving and flying conditions, said Scott Fielder, a spokesman for FedEx, which has its worldwide hub in Memphis.

Ice had built up on the windshields and roofs of parked cars throughout Memphis into Saturday. Law enforcement reported an increase in traffic crashes, and scattered power outages affected more than 3,000 people, emergency and utility officials said.

Residents were told to prepare for a few days without power, prompting them to rush to stores to stock up on groceries, buy electricity generators and gas up their cars. Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell reminded residents to check on family and friends who are elderly, disabled or live alone.

In Nashville, organizers canceled the Christmas parade. The annual St. Jude Memphis Marathon, scheduled for Saturday, was canceled as well.

Sleet also fell in Dyer County, Tenn., where one shelter was on standby and farmers worked to protect crops and livestock.

"We're still getting a lot of sleet falling and roads are slushy and kind of slick," said James Medling, emergency management director for Dyer County.

Storms this week had already dumped 1 to 2 feet of snow in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin and draped many communities in skin-stinging cold. The temperature in parts of North Dakota on Thursday was a few degrees below zero, but wind chill pushed it to nearly 40 below.

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Associated Press writer Jamie Stengle contributed to this report from Dallas.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Bob McDonnell is urging Virginians to prepare for a possible major ice storm.
    
McDonnell says the state could get slammed Sunday by a winter storm moving in from the west, resulting in widespread power outages and hazardous driving conditions.
    
The governor received a briefing Friday from the National Weather Service, various state agencies and Dominion Virginia Power. He said preliminary indications are that areas including Covington, Harrisonburg, Waynesboro, Roanoke, Lynchburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, Leesburg and Winchester appear most at risk for heavy ice accumulations.
    
McDonnell says Virginians should check batteries, flashlights and lanterns, and make sure their cell phones are fully charged.
    
Transportation crews are ready to pretreat highways when the rain ends Saturday, and tree removal contractors are on standby.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

 

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