UPDATE AT 5 P.M. FRIDAY: As expected, the National Weather Service in Blacksburg this afternoon upgraded the winter storm watch to a winter storm warning. The warning is in effect from 1 p.m. Saturday to 7 p.m. Sunday.
A warning is issued when at least three inches of snow and/or ice accumulations of one-fourth of an inch or more are likely within the next 24 hours.
For Danville, the primary wave of precipitation is still not expected to arrive until late Saturday evening. When it arrives, the precipitation is expected to be a mix of snow, sleet and ice, and then transition overnight to snow.
Street surfaces already are cold, so the National Weather Service warns that any precipitation will stick to the surface.
If you must travel during bad weather, emergency officials remind motorists to leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles and if driving on snow- or ice-covered roadways, reduce your speed. If conditions worsen, pull off the highway and remain in your vehicle. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you can take shelter.
To help ensure you are ready for winter weather, Virginia emergency management officials urge you to:
- Always keep enough non-perishable food in your home for three days.
- Keep fresh batteries on hand for weather radios and flashlights.
- Dress warmly. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
- Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep any electric generators outside and away from open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Never burn charcoal indoors.
- Use a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio to monitor for changing weather conditions.
- Keep alternative heating sources and fire extinguishers on hand. Be sure your family knows how to use them.
- Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first aid kit and road map.
- Check on neighbors, especially the elderly and disabled, and include pets in their emergency plans.
To keep animals safe during winter weather, emergency management officials recommend you:
- Make an emergency supplies kit for your pet and include medical records, a first aid kit, enough canned/dry food and water for 3-7 days and pet travel bag or carrier.
- Do not leave pets outside for long periods of time and bring pets inside when temperatures drop below freezing.
- Ensure your pet has a well-fitting collar.
For more information on how to prepare for winter storms, visit ready.gov/be-informed.
ORIGINAL STORY POSTED AT 11 A.M. FRIDAY
The Public Works Department is pretreating main thoroughfares today because of a winter storm that is expected to bring a mix of snow, sleet and ice beginning Saturday evening and continuing on Sunday before ending by sunrise Monday.
According to the latest forecast from the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, total accumulation of one to four inches of snow, sleet and ice is likely for the city.
“We expect precipitation to begin pushing through Danville from 10 p.m. Saturday to midnight, although you may see flurries as early as 7 p.m. or 8 p.m.,” meteorologist Jake Ruckman said Friday morning. “It will start as mixed precipitation of ice, sleet and snow, and maybe some freezing rain.”
Ruckman said the precipitation mix will transition over to snow on Sunday and taper off Sunday evening.
“You may see flurries overnight Sunday into Monday, but by sunrise Monday it will be done,” Ruckman said.
The accumulation totals will depend upon the amount of sleet and ice received. Sleet and ice will result in a lower accumulation.
Even if accumulation totals are low, Ruckman cautioned about slippery road conditions.
“It’s going to be a slushy mess, and it’s going to make for hazardous travel for sure,” he said.
Temperatures are forecast to remain in the low to mid-30s Saturday and Sunday.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for Danville and the surrounding area. The watch means there is potential for significant accumulation of snow, sleet and ice that may have impact travel. Residents and visitors should monitor the latest forecasts.
Public Works Director Rick Drazenovich said the uncertainty over the type of precipitation doesn’t change the department’s preparations.
“It’s the same for a snowstorm or ice storm,” Drazenovich said. “The only difference is the amount of snow that we have to plow.”
Public Works crews today are pretreating major thoroughfares and bridges with brine, which is a mixture of water and salt. The water in the brine evaporates, leaving the salt behind on the road. The salt breaks the bond between the snow and the roadway, and it, therefore, helps prevent the snow from freezing onto roads and bridges.
Crews are prepared for round-the-clock snow removal operations. They will begin plowing road surfaces when one inch of snow has accumulated. Plowing continues only on the highest traffic volume roads until the end of the snow event.
When the snow event has ended, and the main thoroughfares are cleared, crews then will move to collector streets, which connect the main thoroughfares to neighborhoods. The final stage will be residential streets.
Residents and visitors are urged to proceed with caution. Only the major thoroughfares will be pretreated. Remember that your car cannot start, stop or turn as quickly and surely on snow as it does on dry pavement, so think and drive accordingly, and be cautious driving and walking in parking lots.
Danville Utilities is monitoring the situation. Crews will be on standby through the weekend in the event of power outages.
Residents and visitors can learn more about snow removal operations, what to do in the event of power outages, and winter safety tips by visiting the City’s weather page: danvilleva.gov/weather.
If any resident or visitor needs shelter, then they should call the City of Danville non-emergency number, which is 434-799-5111. Arrangements for shelter will be made.