Hot off the presses from Jeff Orrock, Meteorologist in Charge at the National Weather Service in Wakefield:
“Please see the updated briefing attached. Blizzard Warnings are now in effect for much of Hampton Roads and portions of NE NC. Snow total were increased slightly. There is also increasing concern over power outages due to the combination of the cold, snow and wind. There will be a significant load on electrical system for a prolonged period of time in addition to the adverse weather.
Driving conditions will be dangerous later this evening into Thursday morning.”
Per the briefing, the snow totals have increased to 8”-12” for our area.
Stay tuned for more info.
Our area is under a WINTER STORM WARNING, which means heavy snow and/or ice accumulations are imminent or occurring (within 8-36 hours). A BLIZZARD WARNING has also been declared for 7pm tonight through 1pm tomorrow.
As you likely have seen, there is another significant development since yesterday’s update. Whereas the expectation was 4-6” of snow, the NWS is now forecasting 6-8” on their Winter Weather Briefing Page.
The timing for our area is essentially the same: 60% chance of snowfall / wintry mix beginning at 4pm. The greatest chance and greatest accumulation occurs overnight into the early morning hours Thursday.
Temperatures peak at 35° with a wind chill of 28° early this afternoon, then descends below freezing with temps in the mid-20’s wind chill in the single digits into Thursday. Sustained winds Thursday upward of 30mph with gusts reaching 40mph. Thursday evening will see temps in the mid-teens with wind chill below zero.
This sets the stage for some challenging conditions…
While Public Works will be applying a brine on our roads and bridges, any rainfall will wash it away. With the frigid temperatures, anything wet before the snowfall will turn to ice. In fact, the colder temperatures following the snowfall will further exasperate road clearing efforts.
On the mass care side, plans are in place to accommodate our residents experiencing homelessness during the daytime hours as well as overnight.
As Norfolk Public Works focuses on clearing critical facilities and primary routes, key points for the community will be safety and patience. It is imperative to dress warmly for the temperatures! And be sure to warm your home safely! Of course, this is also an excellent and important opportunity to check on family and neighbors, particularly those who are a little more vulnerable to these conditions. As it pertains to patience, assurances can be made crews will make maximum use of the equipment on hand (city-owned and contracted); however, Norfolk’s “Primary Roads” consist of 8 roads and 352 lane miles. Knowing it takes more than one sweep to make a road “passable” or “clear,” three swipes of 352 lane miles = 1,056 miles = the distances from Norfolk to Little Rock, Arkansas! Be sure to follow the City of Norfolk social media for the most up-to-date official reports!
To our partner agencies: Norfolk has activated its Emergency Operations Center virtually for this event. Please let us know if there are any resource needs or changes in your operating status. We will be participating in a few conference calls this morning and early afternoon; a situational update will be posted by around 2pm.
Director, Norfolk EOC