By Lynn R. Mitchell
See also Live-blogging the January 22-23, 2016, historic Virginia snowstorm with photos from around Virginia of Friday’s snow.
Day 2 of the Blizzard of 2016 in our corner of the Shenandoah Valley: We’re not going anywhere with the forecast calling for heavy snow to continue all day along with high winds and temps in the 20s. Our neighbor made two runs at the driveway yesterday so I suspect he will be back his morning in his effort to prevent the snow from building up too much. What would we do without neighbors?
Since we are west of Staunton, the winds coming through Buffalo Gap and off the slopes of the Appalachians cause snow drifts across our road. It’s nothing unusual … we’ve been dealing with it as long as we’ve been here. Same with driveways as drifting snow buried them under feet of snow. So our neighbor is just trying to keep the drifts broken up.
5:10am: The power blipped making our smoke alarm chirp and waking us both. Nothing like the threat of no electricity to make you spring out of bed and get moving before it goes out for good. For now (5:30), it’s still on. Mr. Mitchell is cooking bacon and eggs and brewing coffee.
5:35am: The wind began howling last night and we could hear it throughout the night. This morning, it continues. Peering through the snow-caked door onto the deck, the amount of snow has increased significantly overnight. It’s 18 degrees out there with a high of mid-20s expected during the storm today. It appears WHSV TV-3 is off the air — no power? — so the Weather Channel is on and Jim Cantore is reporting live from D.C.
NBC-29 has The National Weather Service’s latest winter storm warning issued at 4:16am:
EASTERN HIGHLAND-WESTERN PENDLETON-EASTERN PENDLETON-
416 AM EST SAT JAN 23 2016
…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM EST SUNDAY…
* HAZARD TYPES…HEAVY SNOW AND WIND WITH BLOWING AND DRIFTING
SNOW THROUGH SATURDAY NIGHT.
* ACCUMULATIONS…SNOW ACCUMULATION OF MORE THAN 2 FEET.
* TIMING…HEAVY SNOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGH SATURDAY NIGHT. THE
COMBINATION OF HEAVY SNOW… STRONG WINDS…AND POTENTIAL LIFE
THREATENING CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED THROUGH SATURDAY.
* IMPACTS…HEAVY SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW WILL CAUSE DANGEROUS
CONDITIONS AND WILL BE A THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY. TRAVEL
IS EXPECTED TO BE SEVERELY LIMITED IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE DURING
THE HEIGHT OF THE STORM FRIDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH SATURDAY.
VISIBILITY WILL BE REDUCED TO NEAR ZERO AT TIMES IN WHITEOUT
* WINDS…NORTH 10 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH.
* TEMPERATURES…IN THE LOWER 20s.
A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER
CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED. DO NOT TRAVEL. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL…HAVE
A WINTER SURVIVAL KIT WITH YOU. IF YOU GET STRANDED…STAY WITH
YOUR VEHICLE. PREPARE FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF POWER OUTAGES DURING
SNOWY AND COLD CONDITIONS.
5:50am: Heavy snow is still coming down west of Staunton and when it gets light outside we’ll be able to see better what has happened overnight. Temp is 18 degrees and NBC-29 meteorologist Eric Pritchett is saying to expect snow to continue falling at the rate of 1-3 inches an hour. It looks like a foot of snow on the deck.
6:20am: I’m putting a plug in for Dominion Virginia Power with a huge thank you to the men and women who work around the clock to keep the lights on. Dominion has been under attack from anti-pipeline people for months but, truth be told, we heat with a gas furnace and I like to flip the switch and have lights come on after dark. Dominion Virginia Power does a service to Virginians. Thank you!
6:30am: From VDOT — stay off the roads. I-81 is treacherous. WHSV TV-3 reports:
Before midnight on Friday, Jan. 22, many I-81 exit ramps were shut down. The closures will continue into Saturday morning.
“Travel throughout the Shenandoah Valley continues to be treacherous,” said VDOT in a statement. “Travel should not be attempted in this region tonight.”
All roads have areas of ice, compressed snow, or other slippery surfaces. Many country roads are in severe condition.
Troopers have responded to hundreds of crashes statewide. In one case, a State Police vehicle was struck. “Virginia Trooper M.D. Jester is currently being treated at VCU Medical Center in Richmond for minor injuries after his vehicle was struck on Interstate 64 at the 212 mile marker,” said a VSP dispatch.
Interstate 81 is risky. “Due to full truck stops and to prevent tractor trailer parking on Interstate 81 exit ramps, VDOT has taken the following actions,” said a VDOT statement.6:45am: Okay, I ventured my hand and camera out the door to try and get a couple of shots of the snow at this point. Brrrr. The wind is frigid.
7am: Daylight is beginning to creep into the Shenandoah Valley and I can see the faint outlines of trees out in the yard. It will be interesting to see what it looks like out there….
7:05am: If you have to drive, for pete sake be careful. A Virginia State Police trooper was injured overnight while helping a stranded driver: http://www.nbc12.com/story/31033821/vsp-trooper-hit-by-car-while-helping-driver-in-new-kent?sf19488632=1
7:10am: Daylight shows a very wintry landscape with snow-flocked trees, drifts … and we have turned on the snow lights.
7:30am: It’s light enough now to see that there is light snow coming down. Blustery winds are still swirling snow off the roof and it’s very gray out, a typical winter day with winds and snow coming out of the north. Mr. Mitchell has shoveled his way to the bird feeder in the yard to refill it, and is now heading to the deck to knock snow off the bird bath and that feeder. We enjoy our birds.
7:35am: Jay Hughes has boots on the ground in Alexandria outside D.C. with about 1.5 feet of snow on the ground this morning … and doggies who aren’t happy with having to go outside to do their business. Thanks for the video, Jay … stay warm! Link: https://www.facebook.com/jay.hughes3/videos/vb.1012174983/10206773727834428/?type=2&theater¬if_t=mention
8:40am: I’ve been taking pics and uploading them. Facebook is full of photos this morning after snow amounts built up overnight. The snow has picked up at our house with heavy snowfall and wind. Visibility has dropped considerably….
9am: Some of the photos I’ve taken from inside the house. Mr. Mitchell says he thinks we’ve got 14-15 inches although it’s difficult to measure with all the drifts.
9:10am: The world is awake and lots of pics on Facebook of snow throughout Virginia. Listening to the weather, I’m not sure we’re going to hit historic proportions for this storm as the epicenter appears to be moving further north and New York City, originally predicted to have only 6 inches of snow, now is targeted for a foot or more.
9:20am: The Weather Channel is reporting Stone Harbor, NJ, has flooded streets from this storm with Hurricane Sandy-like waves pushing water inland. Film footage is showing streets totally underwater and flooded buildings and vehicles. Dealing with that in summer is one thing … dealing with it in winter is an entirely different story. WeatherNation video of the flooding: https://www.facebook.com/WeatherNation/videos/10153922678844874/?theater
10am: Snow in Southwest Virginia … Floyd County:
10:20am: Roanoke pic from Trixie Averill where there’s more than a foot of snow on the ground….
11am: Meanwhile in Northern Virginia….
11:15am: The snow continues to come in sideways from the north and it’s 23 degrees. Measuring it is difficult with the wind … we have a foot in some areas and three feet in others with drifting.
11:20am: Wintergreen Ski Resort is offering a School Snow Day special for locals in Nelson, Albemarle, Augusta, Amherst, Greene, Louisa, Orange, and Buckingham:
Local area students, their parents, school faculty and staff who are out of school due to inclement weather can get an 8-hour Lift Ticket at reduced rates. School districts included: Nelson, Albemarle, Augusta, Amherst, Greene, Louisa, Orange, Buckingham. Valid midweek, non-holiday, only. Parents are only eligible if accompanied by child.
- 8-hour Lift & Rental – $59
- 8-hour Lift – $39
- With rental, add Group Beginner Lesson for 50% off (ages 8 & above)
To Get This Offer
First, join the SNOWPOWER Club at least 24 hours in advance of your visit, then present your student ID card from included school district at ticket window.
Be sure to keep an eye on The Mountain Message Blog for updates and pictures from around the mountain.
Noon: The wind doesn’t seem to be as gusty and snow is not as heavy at the moment. Temp is 24 degrees and it’s not as gray out there.
Meanwhile, NoVa and D.C. are still in the epicenter of this storm with nearly two feet of snow on the ground. These photos from Justin Higgins show cars buried in snow….
12:25pm: Our snow has practically stopped. Temp is 25, no wind. The sky is brightening.
12:30pm: So while our snow has let up considerably, Jay Hughes has the latest video with his snow boots in over two feet of the white stuff that is up to his knees. Follow Jay while he breaks a path in the unplowed snow in Alexandria as the wind howls. I kind of held my breath as he began sliding down the hill heading toward the creek but what a beautiful winter wonderland a stone’s throw from the nation’s capital. Thanks, Jay … stay warm! Link to his video: https://www.facebook.com/jay.hughes3/videos/vb.1012174983/10206774801221262/?type=2&theater¬if_t=mention
1pm: I had to share this picture from my Texas sister who is having coffee at her house on her deck overlooking the pool. She said she was enjoying morning coffee and paperwhites … I told her we were enjoying coffee and snowplows. She knows how much I love the snow but for those who don’t, this is what it looks like today in Austin….
1:20pm: Mr. Mitchell says we’re in a dry slot and will have more snow coming in. It’s very gray west of here so I can believe it. Temp is 28 degrees — that’s where it was supposed to top out today so hopefully it will. I want to enjoy this for a while before it begins melting. Our best guesstimate is about 18 inches with three-foot drifts. While not historic, it’s still impressive especially if more gets added this afternoon.
The Homestead in Hot Springs west of here has received 20 inches of snow and their slopes are open for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. Link for info and for their snow cam: http://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/homestead-virginia/things-to-do/ski/webcam?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=homrst-ski-cam
2:30pm: Back inside after a walkabout with my camera. The snow started picking up again while I was out there … deep snow at least 18 inches deep with drifts much deeper. It’s like walking in quick sand so I didn’t make it to the woods … too deep, snow picking up, and my toes started yipping that they were cold even with two pairs of socks. Temp is 29 and wind picking up a bit. I’ll have pics in a while.
2:45pm: While we’ve been dealing with snow from Richmond to the north, south, and west, those living east toward the coast have had a mixture of rain, ice, and snow (and some at the coast have had only rain).
From Eastern Virginia: Melanie Beale sent pics from York County, writing, “High tide. Near flooding. Rain washed all the snow away. Had to move our cars so they wouldn’t get flooded. Very strong winds last night!!! Now getting freezing rain. Perfect storm for power outages.” She added, “But the power is still on!” Thanks, Mel … stay warm!
3pm: Jay Hughes sent his latest update video from Alexandria while I was outside so I’m about an hour late posting but here are the blizzard conditions in NoVa where the wind is howling and snow is blowing. Reports are about 2 feet of snow and more as they catch the brunt of this storm. Kudos to Jay … link to video: https://www.facebook.com/jay.hughes3/videos/vb.1012174983/10206775265992881/?type=2&theater¬if_t=mention
3:30pm: Jay sent a follow-up video as conditions quickly deteriorate in NoVa. I totally agree with his kudos to Dominion Virginia Power for all they do to keep the power on and, when we lose electricity, they are there to get us back online as soon as possible. Video link: https://www.facebook.com/WeatherNation/videos/10153922678844874/?theater
4:40pm: It’s snowing again and the wind is picking up. Cold … temp is 25 degrees with an overnight low predicted to be 12. Our road hasn’t been plowed which is really unusual but we’re not going anywhere so really don’t mind. Here’s some photos around our house from this afternoon during my walkabout….
7pm: The latest weather video update from Jay Hughes in Alexandria: https://www.facebook.com/jay.hughes3/videos/10206776780350739/?theater
7:45pm: Mr. Mitchell shoveled the front sidewalk….
9:15pm: Son-in-law and resident meteorologist Colin’s drone footage of Blacksburg in the snow was on ABC News Tonight Saturday evening. It showcases the beauty of the foot of snow in the land of Virginia Tech.
9:30pm: The snow lights are on….