The National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for the City of Suffolk and surrounding areas related to the threat of possible snow and severe winter weather conditions starting tomorrow, Thursday, January 20, 2022 continuing into the weekend. Forecasters are calling for rain Thursday which is expected to change to snow Thursday afternoon and evening following the passage of an Arctic cold front. A second round of winter precipitation is expected late Friday into Saturday morning.
The City’s Office of Emergency Management is coordinating with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and National Weather Service to monitor weather forecasts. City staff are preparing ahead of potential impacts to roadways and City services. Present plans call for Public Works Operations to begin 24 hour staffing on Thursday and remaining in effect throughout the weekend to address any roadway issues including plowing which will begin on designated primary roads when required. Operations will consist of 12 hour shifts with each shift will having 20 to 24 trucks running with plows and spreaders.
The Roadway Division of Public Works is responsible for clearing snow and ice from Suffolk public streets. The primary purpose of snow removal is to clear snow for emergency vehicles, hospital access, and service vehicles such as school buses, public transit buses and refuse trucks.
With safety and emergency accessibility being the primary concerns, the first priority is given to all primary or main roadways, followed by secondary arterials and connectors. Neighborhood streets are cleared last and, due to the size of the equipment, configuration of neighborhood streets and the presence of cars parked on the street, may not be accessible by City plows. An interactive map of the City’s priority routes for public paved roadways within the City can be viewed online: https://suffolkva.maps.arcgis.com/apps/PublicInformation/index.html?appid=159217ab90c34c8da06e5a9207fea2af. Please note that removal timeframes and priority are subject to change with weather conditions.
City crews assess each snow/ice event for the best possible treatment plan. Depending upon conditions, roadways may be pre-treated in the hours before the onset of the winter event. This pretreatment may be a wet salt solution (brine) or a dry mixture of sand and salt (abrasive). Pretreatment can be used to help reduce icy conditions but may not be the only required treatment.
When it becomes necessary to operate snowplows, residents can assist in the efficiency of snow removal by doing the following:
--Avoid travel unless absolutely necessary; if you must travel, please drive cautiously and slowly, removing all snow and ice from the whole vehicle before driving
--Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles
--Stay back and avoid passing snow plows; snow or abrasive can come from the plow while operating
--Avoid parking on streets when snow or ice is predicted
--Shovel sidewalks as soon as possible after storm; however, avoid shoveling snow from driveways or sidewalks into the roadway
--Clear snow around fire hydrants; firefighters will be able to respond more quickly in the event of an emergency