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Winter Storm Helena - January 2017

To report roadway issues, citizens can contact Public Works at 514-7600.

For afterhours/weekend requests for Emergency Public Utilities Services, call 757-514-7000 (broken water pipes, etc.).

WEDNESDAY BEFORE & AFTER SCHOOL CARE CANCELLED

SUFFOLK, Virginia (January 10, 2017) Suffolk Public Schools earlier announced that they would remain closed on Wednesday, January 11th, and as such, before and after school programs at Suffolk Parks & Recreation facilities will also be cancelled. 

ROADWAY CLEARING EFFORTS CONTINUE

SUFFOLK, Virginia (January 10, 2017) Suffolk Public Works crews continued to stay busy all night treating and clearing our roadways. Despite below freezing temperatures, they were able to make significant progress in many areas yesterday and last night. Roadway conditions continue to improve with temperatures finally above freezing today combined with the melting effects of the sun.

Since the onset of Winter Storm Helena, they have put down 499 tons of salt, 797 tons of sand and 2,995 tons of abrasive salt/sand mix. Crews will transition from the 12-hour shifts they’ve been working since 4:00 a.m. Friday morning to 8-hour shifts.

As warm, sunny conditions develop, we will see a significant amount of melting, resulting in slushy conditions and possible wet-on-ice conditions along neighborhood streets and collectors. Drivers should continue to exercise caution by driving alert and attentive as slippery conditions may still exist, especially in shaded areas, by keeping their speed down, allowing a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them and avoiding sudden directional changes. Drivers should also leave a safe distance from Public Works vehicles as they continue their clearing and treatment efforts.

To report roadway issues, citizens can contact Public Works at 514-7600.

 

SUFFOLK TRANSIT PROVIDING LIMITED SERVICE TUESDAY

SUFFOLK, Virginia (January 9, 2017) Suffolk Transit will be providing limited service on Tuesday, January 10, 2017. Service will be offered during normally scheduled hours with the following service alterations:

    Blue Route – No service Tuesday, January 10, 2017.

  • Orange Route – Normal schedule, service is limited to Main Street, East Washington Street and Portsmouth Blvd. No neighborhood services. Please contact Transit Operations to estimate stop schedules.
  • Green Route – Normal schedule, no route changes anticipated. Riders along Kensington Way may wish to contact Transit Operations at (757) 214-6442 to ensure that service is available.
  • Red Route – Normal schedule, no service to Prospect Road.
  • Yellow Route – Normal schedule, no service to South Suffolk and Saratoga neighborhoods. Service will continue along Washington Street to Carolina Road and south to Obici Industrial Blvd.
  • Gold Route – Normal schedule, no service to North Suffolk, Nansemond Parkway or Wilroy Road. Connections will be between the Chesapeake Square area and Downtown Transfer Station only

Please contact Transit Operations at (757) 214-6442, during regular business hours, for specific stop information.

SUFFOLK CITY OFFICES’ DELAYED OPENING – ROAD STATUS UPDATE (4 p.m., January 9, 2017)

Suffolk City Offices will be opening on a 2-hour delay on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 with Liberal Leave for non-essential personnel or as advised otherwise by their Supervisor. City Employees should advise their Supervisor accordingly. Offices directly serving the public will open at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 10, 2017.

There will be no changes to the trash collection schedule for Tuesday, January 10th.  TFC Recycling will also conduct their normal recycling collection routes on Tuesday, January 10th. The Suffolk Public Works Department reminds you that trash must be placed at curbside no later than 7 a.m. on the day of collection.

The Southeastern Public Safety Authority (SPSA) Transfer Station in Suffolk has advised they will have a delayed opening and will be open at 10:00 a.m.

Public Works crews utilizing 25 trucks equipped with plows and spreaders will continue to work in 12-hour shifts clearing our roadways.  All primary roadways and a large percentage of secondary roadways have been treated and plowed, many requiring several passes as conditions changed throughout the course of this weather event.  While today’s sun has helped in these efforts, bitter cold temperatures will continue to cause refreezing conditions overnight and into the early morning hours.  

The Department’s first priority is to make passable approximately 600 lane-miles of primary roads and additional lane-miles of priority streets that access hospitals, fire stations and police stations.  Most neighborhood streets are not cleared because parked vehicles and other safety considerations make snow removal from these streets impractical. Problematic main roadways into and out of some neighborhoods will be treated and/or plowed as Supervisors investigate if the equipment can safely work in such areas. 

To report roadway issues, citizens can contact Public Works at 514-7600.

Drivers should continue to exercise caution in their driving by driving alert and attentive, keeping their speed down, allowing a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them and avoiding sudden directional changes. Drivers should also leave a safe distance from Public Works vehicles to avoid being hit from material being spread on the road.

Suffolk Public Schools earlier announced that they would remain closed on Tuesday, January 10th, and as such, before and after school programs at Suffolk Parks & Recreation facilities will also be closed. 

A release noting any modifications related to Tuesday schedules for Suffolk Transit will be provided as soon as determinations have been made. 

UPDATE - Water Main Leaks Reducing Pressure in Two Areas (5:00 p.m., 1-8-17)

SUFFOLK, VA (January 8, 2017) Suffolk Department of Public Utilities advise that crews have resolved the issue in the Kings Fork Road/Waters Road area to Route 460 and water pressure levels should be back to normal in that area.

Crews continue working to resolve the issue in the Woodlake neighborhood which has impacted approximately 30 customers.

Another issue with a water main leak affecting pressure has been reported in the Lake Kennedy area and crews are mobilizing to address that situation.

All of the water main leaks addressed by staff are believed to be weather-related.  Citizens are reminded that water is safe to drink, with only the water pressure an issue at this time

For afterhours/weekend requests for Emergency Public Utilities Services, call 757-514-7000 (broken water pipes, etc.).

 

SUFFOLK TRANSIT PROVIDING LIMITED SERVICE MONDAY

SUFFOLK, Virginia (January 8, 2017) Suffolk Transit will be providing limited service on Monday, January 9, 2017. Service will be offered during normally scheduled hours with the following service alterations:

 

  • Orange Route – No service Monday, January 9, 2017.
  • Blue Route – No service Monday, January 9, 2017.
  • Green Route – Normal schedule, no route changes anticipated. Riders along Kensington Way may wish to contact Transit Operations at (757) 214-6442 to ensure that service is available.
  • Red Route – Normal schedule, no service to Prospect Road.
  • Yellow Route – Normal schedule, no service to South Suffolk and Saratoga neighborhoods. Service will continue along Washington Street to Carolina Road and south to Obici Industrial Blvd.
  • Gold Route – Normal schedule, no service to North Suffolk, Nansemond Parkway or Wilroy Road. Connections will be between the Chesapeake Square area and Downtown Transfer Station only
  • Please contact Transit Operations at (757) 214-6442, during regular business hours, for specific stop information.

SUFFOLK CITY OFFICES CLOSED MONDAY, JANUARY 9

SUFFOLK, Virginia (January 8, 2017) Suffolk City Offices will be closed on Monday, January 9, 2017 due to conditions in the aftermath of Winter Storm Helena.  All scheduled activities and events are cancelled, including before and after school care. 

Alpha Personnel for the Suffolk Police Department, and others as directed by their Supervisor, should report to duty as usual.  

Suffolk Public Works has been working 24/7 since 4:00 a.m. Friday morning.  City staff will continue clearing ice and snow from priority streets as quickly as possible. Efforts began by treating all primary roadways with a brine solution prior to the snowfall event. The Suffolk Public Works Department is equipped with 25 trucks, a combination of chemical spreaders and snow plows.

The Department’s first priority is to make passable approximately 600 lane-miles of primary roads and additional lane-miles of priority streets that access hospitals, fire stations and police stations.  Most neighborhood streets are not cleared because parked vehicles and other safety considerations make snow removal from these streets impractical. Problematic main roadways into and out of some neighborhoods will be treated and/or plowed as Supervisors investigate if the equipment can safely work in such areas. 

To report roadway issues, citizens can contact Public Works at 514-7600.

The SPSA Landfill has advised that they will also be closed on Monday.   

A separate Media Release will note detailed information related to the status of Suffolk Transit and Monday schedules.

For afterhours/weekend requests for Emergency Public Utilities Services, call 757-514-7000 (broken water pipes, etc.).

Information regarding the status of City offices will also be posted on the City’s website at www.suffolkva.us .  Further, Winter Weather Preparedness information can be found on the City of Suffolk website at www.suffolkva.us/pages/winter-weather-preparedness/.

 

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOLLOWING THE STORM

SUFFOLK, VA (January 8, 2017) The Virginia Department of Emergency Management is continuing to share safety information for citizens following the impact of Winter Storm Helena.  

Temperatures in Suffolk today will only reach 25 degrees during the day and will once again drop to single digits this evening.  Tomorrow’s temperatures will remain below freezing with an average of 27 degrees.  Even with sunny, clear skies, conditions are not conducive for the melting of snow and ice.

As we have advised, Suffolk Public Works crews have been working around the clock since before the storm even arrived to keep our roads as clear as possible.  Even with the treatment and plowing, ROADS ARE SLICK.  Due to continued extremely cold temperatures and icy conditions, MOTORISTS ARE URGED TO STAY OFF THE ROADS.   By staying off the roads, transportation workers and public-safety officials can clear the roads and respond more quickly to emergency needs.

If travel is absolutely necessary:

  • Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter and is in safe driving condition. Keep an emergency kit in your car. Include items such as jumper cables, blankets, first aid kit, water, non-perishable food, cat litter or sand, shovel, flash light and batteries, ice scraper and cell phone charger.
  • Visit www.511virginia.org or call 5-1-1 for road conditions.
  • Let someone know where you are going and what route you’re taking.
  • Remove all snow from your vehicle before driving.
  • Drive with caution – Reduce your speed and increase following distances.
  • Don’t crowd snow plows or emergency vehicles – give emergency crews plenty of room to work.
  • Stay indoors and stay warm. Dress in layers and reduce exposure to the cold.
  • With the bitter cold temperatures, the Virginia Department of Health reminds everyone that frostbite and hypothermia are serious concerns and urges us to dress appropriately for the cold weather. If spending time outside; monitor the time you and others are outside, especially children.
  • If working outside, pace yourself; don’t over exert, take frequent breaks. Be sure to check on others, especially if they are older or infirm. Learn the signs of frostbite and hypothermia on the VDH website ---www.vdh.virginia.gov.
  • If you have power-dependent medical equipment, keep all batteries at full charge in case you lose power.
  • In a life threatening emergency, call 9-1-1 for help immediately
  • Keep your cell phone charged in case of a power outage. 
  • Bring pets inside from the cold. If they do need to go outside try to minimize their exposure to cold weather.
  • Use caution when shoveling snow
    • Limit your exposure to cold, stay hydrated, lift with your knees, and do not over-exert yourself
  • If you need help, information or resources during the storm, call 2-1-1.

If the power goes out, be sure to take the following precautions:

  • Report power outages to your power company. If you have power-dependent medical equipment, make sure all batteries and extra batteries are fully charged. Know where to go if you lose power during or after the storm. If you aren’t sure where to go, dial 2-1-1 for a list of shelters or charging stations that may be open in your area.
  • Stay warm by wearing layered clothing, gloves, hats, and/or blankets.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of clean drinking water. 
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as long as possible.  
    • Throw away perishable foods (including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) in your refrigerator when the power has been off for 4 hours or more. Thawed food that contains ice crystals can be refrozen or cooked. Freezers, if left unopened and full, will keep food safe for 48 hours (24 hours if half full).
  • Do not use charcoal, generators, grills or similar devices inside.
    • Use these devices outside if necessary, as intended, and do not connect generators to your home electrical system.
  • Check on friends, family, neighbors, the elderly and those with medical needs.

WATER MAIN LEAKS REDUCING PRESSURE IN TWO AREAS

SUFFOLK, VA (January 8, 2017) Suffolk Department of Public Utilities advise of two separate incidents involving water main leaks in the Kings Fork Road/Waters Road area to Route 460 along that corridor, as well as the Woodlake Terrace neighborhood.

At this time, staff is mobilizing to isolate the issues and make necessary repairs.  They will be assisted by crews from Public Works due to freezing water on the roadway because of current below freezing temperatures.

It is unknown at this time if there will be service impacts to these areas.  Water is safe to drink, with only the water pressure an issue at this time.

PUBLIC WORKS CREWS CONTINUE WORKING OUR ROADWAYS (1-8-17, 9:30 a.m.)

Suffolk Public Works crews continued to stay busy all night working our primary roadways. Bitter cold has shifted treatment from snow to ice in many areas requiring a change in treatment strategies.   For the most part, we switched our mixes over to all sand last evening at approximately 11:00 p.m.  Crews continue working in 12-hour shifts to monitor road conditions, apply material and push/plow when necessary.

To this point in the event, we have put down 346 tons of salt, 224 tons of sand, and 1,341 tons of abrasive salt/sand mix.  

Temperatures are not expected to be above freezing until Tuesday afternoon, greatly impacting our roadways due to continued icing conditions and wind chills below zero.

Motorists are reminded to stay off of the roadways unless absolutely necessary, to be aware of service vehicles and to maintain a safe driving distance. 

To report roadway issues, citizens can contact Public Works at 514-7600.

Winter Weather Preparedness information can be found on the City of Suffolk website at www.suffolkva.us/pages/winter-weather-preparedness/.

 

UPDATE - Winter Storm Helena - 1-7-17 (9:10 p.m.)

The Winter Storm Warning has been cancelled and we are currently under a Winter Weather Advisory which has been extended to 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning.  Hazards associated with the advisory include snow and ice covered roads, dangerous wind chills and hazardous travel conditions. 

Temperatures will be in the single digits in the morning with a wind chill at -7 degrees. 

We have been advised that the approximately 376 Dominion Virginia Power customers in the Pughsville area that have been without power since 1:00 p.m. have had their power restored at approximately 8:00 p.m.

Call volumes for Suffolk Fire & Rescue and the Suffolk Police Department remain at normal to medium levels.  There have been a total of 25 reported accidents since we began monitoring the incidents at 6:00 p.m. Friday evening. 

Public Works currently has 26 trucks on our roadways equipped with plows and spreaders and will continue treating our roadways while working in 12-hour shifts.  The primary roadways have been plowed in many areas a minimum of 2 to 3 passes however secondary roads remain treacherous due to the extreme cold conditions and icing. 

Treatment of our secondary roads will follow our primary roads and trucks will most likely not be servicing residential neighborhoods for a couple of days after the storm if at all. It is extremely difficult for the large snowplows and equipment to access some neighborhoods due to no turning radius, dead ends and other factors.  Citizens are requested to remove their parked vehicles from the roadways where possible so that snow plows are not impeded in accessing these areas.  Motorists are reminded to stay off of the roadways unless absolutely necessary, to be aware of service vehicles and to maintain a safe driving distance. 

Public Utilities advises of a water main break in the Kempton Park neighborhood off of Bennetts Creek Park Road which is having some impact on water pressure in the area.  Crews are out working to correct this issue and are being assisted by Public Works staff due to freezing water on the roadway. 

As indicated by City Ordinance, businesses and homeowners should also assist in snow removal efforts by clearing private property for safety reasons.

The City of Suffolk subscribes to VDOT's policy and goal with regard to snow removal for non-residential streets. “VDOT’s goal is to have all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours after the winter storm ends. It’s important to remember that passable does not mean drivers will see bare pavement. Once major routes are clear, VDOT can shift efforts to secondary roads and side streets.”  That is Suffolk's goal as well.

Winter Weather Preparedness information can be found on the City of Suffolk website at www.suffolkva.us/pages/winter-weather-preparedness/.

Virginia Department of Health Provides Guidance on Preventing Snow-Related Injury & Illness

With the arrival of the first significant Winter Storm of 2017, the Virginia Department of Health offers these tips for staying safe whether enjoying the snow or doing cleanup activities:

Reduce Risk of Cold Temperature Injuries.

 

  • Wear snow boots, hats, gloves and scarves; cover your mouth, if possible.
  • Ensure that clothing and boots have adequate insulation.
  • Dress in layers to help keep body heat in.
  • Take frequent breaks out of the snow.
  • Monitor the time your children are out in the cold.
  • Stay dry, and if you become wet, head indoors and remove any wet clothing immediately.
  • Check on others who might not be able to care for themselves.

Avoid Exertion

 

  • Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold.
  • Work slowly, your body is already working hard just to stay warm, so don’t overdo it.
  • Do not ignore shivering; it’s an important first sign that your body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.

Know Signs of Frostbite  

 

  • Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas.
  • It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body. Severe cases may result in digit or limb amputation.
  • At the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin.
  • Any of the following signs may indicate frostbite: a white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, and numbness. The person is often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out because the frozen tissues are numb.
  • If you suspect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.

Know Signs of Hypothermia

 

  • Hypothermia is an abnormally low body temperature caused when your body is losing heat faster than it can be produced. Warning signs may include shivering, exhaustion, mental confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech or drowsiness.
  • In infants, warning signs may include bright red, cold skin or very low energy. If you notice signs of hypothermia, take the person’s temperature. If the body temperature is below 95 degrees, it’s an emergency; seek medical attention immediately.

Wear Protective Gear

 

  • Wear earplugs or protective headphones to reduce risk from equipment noise. Equipment such as chain saws, backhoes and snow blowers may cause ringing in the ears and subsequent hearing damage.
  • Wear eye goggles while removing or cleaning up debris to prevent eye injuries.

Prevent Muscle and Bone Injury

 

  • Use teams of two or more to move bulky objects.
  • Avoid lifting any material that weighs more than 50 pounds.
  • Use proper automated-assist lifting devices.
  • Use caution or seek professional assistance when removing fallen trees, cleaning up debris or using equipment, such as chain saws.
  • Wear eye goggles while removing or cleaning up debris to prevent eye injuries.

Avoid Carbon Monoxide

 

  • Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is poisonous to breathe.
  • During snow cleanup, operate all gasoline-powered devices such as generators outdoors and never bring them indoors. This will help to ensure your safety from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Beware of Electrical Hazards

 

  • If snow/water is present anywhere near electrical circuits and electrical equipment, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician.
  • Never touch electrical equipment if the ground is wet, unless you are certain that the power is off.
  • Never touch a downed power line.
  • When using gasoline and diesel generators to supply power to a building, switch the main breaker or fuse on the service panel to the off position prior to starting the generator.
  • If clearing or other work must be performed near a downed power line, contact the utility company to discuss de-energizing and grounding or shielding of power lines.
  • Extreme caution is necessary when moving ladders and other equipment near overhead power lines to avoid inadvertent contact.

For more information about how to protect yourself and your family during and after a snowstorm, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov.

 

UPDATE -- Winter Storm Helena Affecting Suffolk Roadways 01-07-17 (2:15 p.m.)

SUFFOLK, Virginia (January 7, 2017) – Suffolk Public Works crews are continuing to treat our primary roadways and have spread a total of 736 tons of abrasives, and 334 tons of salt during this weather incident.  Due to wind gusts, however, snow is blowing back onto our roadways quickly after the plows pass, and citizens are asked to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.

By staying off the roads, transportation workers and public-safety officials can clear roads and respond more quickly to emergency needs.  

Crews will continue working in 12-hour shifts to keep our roadways passable for emergency vehicles.  Motorists are reminded that hazardous travel conditions continue throughout Hampton Roads and they should exercise caution while driving, allow extra time to reach their destination and avoid sudden stops or accelerations.  

The National Weather Service advises that we will remain under a Winter Storm Warning until 10:00 p.m.  Snow is continuing to fall across much of our area and we can expect further accumulation through approximately 4:00 p.m.  Temperatures will remain below freezing overnight, with wind chills near zero. 

The Suffolk Visitor Center and Suffolk Executive Airport will remain closed on Sunday, January 8, 2017.

WINTER STORM HELENA AFFECTING SUFFOLK ROADWAYS

SUFFOLK, Virginia (January 7, 2017) – Suffolk Public Works crews have been busy through the overnight hours continuing to apply a brine solution until precipitation started coming down.   All primary roadways and many secondary roadways were treated.  As the snow began to fall, crews then switched to a sand/salt abrasive mixture.

To this point, crews have put down 288 tons of salt and 629 tons of abrasive, with the focus our primary roadways.  Plowing has also begun in earnest, with average snowfall amounts thus far in the 2 to 4” range.

Our Department of Emergency Management advises that while many areas of Suffolk saw a rain/sleet mix overnight and into the early morning hours, we can expect this to transition to all snow with conditions heavy at times and up to 2” of snow per hour, for an event total of 8-12” across much of our City, with lesser amounts in the extreme southeast portion of our City.  Temperatures will remain below freezing until mid-day Tuesday, which will add to issues on our roadways. 

Treatment of our secondary roads will follow our primary roads and trucks will most likely not be servicing residential neighborhoods for a couple of days after the storm if at all. It is extremely difficult for the large snowplows and equipment to access some neighborhoods due to no turning radius, dead ends and other factors.  Citizens are requested to remove their parked vehicles from the roadways where possible so that snow plows are not impeded in accessing these areas.  Motorists are reminded to be aware of service vehicles in the roadways and to maintain a safe driving distance. 

As with any severe weather incident, motorists are reminded to stay home when possible if road conditions are poor; to avoid driving in conditions that they are not familiar with; to clear any snow/ice from all windows and lights; to slow down and watch for changing conditions; to remember that blowing snow or snow being plowed can limit visibility; and to avoid crowding the Public Works operations trucks.

Winter Weather Preparedness information can be found on the City of Suffolk website at www.suffolkva.us/pages/winter-weather-preparedness/.

 

WINTER STORM WARNING CAUSES CLOSURES AND CANCELLATION OF EVENTS

 

SUFFOLK, VA (January 6, 2017) Due to the Winter Storm Warning currently in effect, all scheduled events and activities for Saturday, January 7, 2017 at Parks & Recreation and Library locations have been cancelled and facilities will be closed.

The Suffolk Visitor Center, Suffolk Executive Airport and Suffolk Animal Care facilities will also be closed on Saturday, January 7, 2017.

The Southeastern Public Service Authority has advised that the SPSA Transfer Station will also be closed on Saturday, January 7, 2017.

 

PUBLIC WORKS IN FULL STORM MODE

SUFFOLK, Virginia (January 6, 2017) - The National Weather Service in Wakefield has issued a Winter Storm Warning for snow in effect from 10:00 p.m. this evening until 10:00 p.m. Saturday, January 7th, and the Department of Public Works has been working diligently in advance of this weather system to treat our roadways, bridges and overpasses.

A Winter Storm Warning means that snow, possibly heavy at times, with an accumulation of 6” to 10”, with locally higher amounts to 12” possible, will cause hazardous travel conditions due to snow covered roads and reduced visibilities.

Public Works crews this morning before dawn began a pro-active treatment by applying a brine solution (liquid Sodium Chloride) to prevent the formation or development of bonded snow and ice on the road surface.  Additional advantages of using the brine solution are as follows:

  • Anti-icing returns road surfaces to normal faster, resulting in fewer accidents and delays.
  • Anti-icing can reduce airborne dust and salt particulates.
  • Salt needs moisture to be effective.  Applying brine jumpstarts the melting process.
  • Brine sticks to the road surface.  It will not be as easily blown off the road by wind or traffic, so material is more efficiently used.
  • If the storm is delayed, salt residue remains on the road surface, ready to begin work when precipitation begins.
  • Crews can begin treatment in advance of a storm.  Because anti-icing prevents the bonding of snow and ice to pavement, Public Works crews have less work to maintain safe roadways as the storm progresses.

These efforts will continue right up until the snow conditions make pretreatment ineffective. Public Works staff will operate on 12-hour shifts throughout this weather event.  All 25 of our plows/spreaders are in operational capacity at this point and we are expecting to keep them employed around the clock through the upcoming storm and clean-up.

As with all winter events, plowing will begin in earnest on the primary roads once the snow level is sufficient for the plow blade to be effective (usually at about 1-1/2 inches). Treatment of our secondary roads will follow our primary roads and trucks will most likely not be servicing residential neighborhoods for a couple of days after the storm if at all. It is extremely difficult for the large snowplows and equipment to access some neighborhoods due to no turning radius, dead ends and other factors.  Citizens are requested to remove their parked vehicles from the roadways where possible so that snow plows are not impeded in accessing these areas.  Motorists are reminded to be aware of service vehicles in the roadways and to maintain a safe driving distance.

As indicated by City Ordinance, businesses and homeowners should also assist in snow removal efforts by clearing private property for safety reasons.

The City of Suffolk subscribes to VDOT's policy and goal with regard to snow removal for non-residential streets. “VDOT’s goal is to have all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours after the winter storm ends. It’s important to remember that passable does not mean drivers will see bare pavement. Once major routes are clear, VDOT can shift efforts to secondary roads and side streets.”  That is Suffolk's goal as well.

 Winter Weather Preparedness information can be found on the City of Suffolk website at www.suffolkva.us/pages/winter-weather-preparedness/.

EXTREME COLD WEATHER EXPECTED FOR CITY OF SUFFOLK

 SUFFOLK, VA (January 5, 2017)  With the National Weather Service in Wakefield, Virginia warning of extreme cold temperatures for our area this weekend, the Suffolk Public Utilities Department advises that residents should consider letting one or two water faucets drip to protect against freezing of their plumbing if their pipes are not insulated.

Other tips include:

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up and out of the reach of children.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during both the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

The Suffolk Division of Emergency Management notes that during this period those who must venture out of doors should dress in layers and stay dry. Additionally, it is advised that family members should keep check on the elderly and very young. Pets should be brought inside or provided with warm, dry shelter.

The National Weather Service advises of a significant winter storm expected Saturday across Central Virginia, Tidewater, Hampton Roads and Northeast North Carolina.  Confidence is increasing and snow totals have been increased, however, uncertainty remains in exact amounts and how far inland the heavier snow extends.  The period of greatest impact is expected early Saturday morning through the entire day Saturday, with snow heavy at times and rapid accumulation expected.  Due to bitterly cold temperatures, they note we can expect prolonged hazardous travel conditions into Sunday and Monday. 

For helpful weather and preparedness information, visit the City’s website at http://www.suffolkva.us/severe-weather-updates/

 

ADVANCE PREPARATIONS BEING MADE FOR INCLEMENT WEATHER

SUFFOLK, VA (January 5, 2017) Suffolk Public Works crews have been busy today doing prep work for this weekend’s expected inclement weather. Beginning tomorrow morning at 4:00 a.m., three brine trucks will begin applying brine pre-treatment to bridges, elevated surfaces and primary roads. As a result, residents may see colored streaks on roadways.   Please be mindful of service vehicles in the roadways and maintain a safe driving distance. 

As with any winter storm event, all equipment has been prepared and calibrated for effective operations. Since this is our first winter event of any significance this season, the City is well stocked with sand, salt and plow/spreader consumables. Additionally, the City makes our own brine from salt and water so we don’t have to travel outside of the City or wait on a contractor to refill our supply.

If this becomes a snow clearing operation as anticipated, citizens are reminded that if possible to remove vehicles from the street in order to assist the drivers of the trucks equipped with plows in clearing the roadways.

As with any severe weather incident, motorists are reminded to stay home when possible if road conditions are poor; to avoid driving in conditions that they are not familiar with; to clear any snow/ice from all windows and lights; to slow down and watch for changing conditions; to remember that blowing snow or snow being plowed can limit visibility; and to avoid crowding the Public Works operations trucks.

We will continue to monitor conditions and will make changes to our treatment strategy as conditions dictate.

Extensive winter weather safety information is available on the City’s website homepage under the Severe Weather Tips & Updates button http://www.suffolkva.us/severe-weather-updates/

Suffolk Police Provide Winter Weather Safety Tips

SUFFOLK, VA (January 5, 2017)   The Suffolk Police Department would like to warn citizens of the potential dangers related to the forecast of snow and below freezing temperatures forecast for our area.  With overnight temperatures and wind chills anticipated to be in the single digits over the weekend, we can expect the formation of ice on ponds, lakes and retention ponds.  Suffolk Police advise that it is dangerous to try to venture out onto what appears to be a frozen body of water as the ice is not thick enough to support the weight of even a small child. Parents and care providers are advised to warn their children not to play on or near the ice.

In recent years the Hampton Roads area has seen instances where children have fallen through the ice creating a very dangerous situation due to the temperature of the water. The temperatures we will be experiencing will not have been sustained long enough to create the minimum clear ice thickness recommended to permit ice sports or recreation.

Ice-related drowning incidents commonly involve situations where children have been playing on the ice, children slipped on ice-covered banks and fell into the water, adults attempted to rescue children, or adults attempted to rescue a pet who fell through the ice. If someone is observed falling though the ice, call 911 immediately. Do not attempt to go onto the ice to attempt a rescue as you may become a victim as well. You should try to reach the victim with a rope, rolled blanket, pole or other object until rescue crews arrive.

Police also want to alert the public of the risk of leaving an unattended car running while warming up the vehicle. Vehicle thieves can see this as an opportunity to take your vehicle.

Suffolk Police also advise motorists to take extra precautions while traveling and to slow down, drive smoothly, do not tailgate, and be extra vigilant while operating a motor vehicle.

 

Suffolk Fire & Rescue Provides Safety Tips in Dealing with Winter Weather

SUFFOLK, VA (January 5, 2017)   With temperatures below freezing expected over the next several days, Suffolk Fire & Rescue would like to remind citizens that there is an increased risk for home fires when the weather turns frigid.  However, many of these fires are preventable and citizens can reduce their risks of becoming a fire casualty by identifying potential hazards and following simple safety tips. 

Lieutenant Charles Chapin with the Fire Marshal’s Office advises “Cold weather such as this brings with it a unique set of circumstances that can enhance the possibility of residential fires.  The use of candles, heating sources and makeshift cooking methods can significantly increase the chances of a fire occurring.  By following some basic safety tips, you can protect yourself and your family when dealing with winter weather.”

 

Heating Safety

  • Use kerosene heaters and space heaters according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Alternative heaters need their space. Keep anything combustible at least three feet away.
  • Make sure your alternative heaters have 'tip switches.' These 'tip switches' are designed to automatically turn off the heater in the event they tip over.
  • Do not use the kitchen oven range to heat your home. In addition to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes.
  • Never refill a space heater while it is operating or still hot.
  • Refuel heaters only outdoors.
  • Make sure wood stoves are properly installed, and at least three feet away from combustible materials. Ensure they have the proper floor support and adequate ventilation.

Generator Safety

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines when using generators.
  • Use a generator or other fuel-powered machines outside the home. CO fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors.
  • Use the appropriate sized and type power cords to carry the electric load. Overloaded cords can overheat and cause fires.
  • Never run cords under rugs or carpets where heat might build up or damage to a cord may go unnoticed.
  • Never connect generators to another power source such as power lines. The reverse flow of electricity or 'backfeed' can electrocute an unsuspecting utility worker.

Additional Tips

  • Be careful when using candles. Keep the flame away from combustible objects and out of the reach of children.
  • If the power goes out, make certain that all electrical appliances, such as stoves, electric space heaters and hair dryers, are in the OFF position.
  • Make certain that your home's smoke alarms are in proper working order.
  • Some smoke alarms may be dependent on your home's electrical service and could be inoperative during a power outage. Check to see if your smoke alarm uses a back-up battery and install a new battery at least twice a year.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home and inside and outside of sleeping areas.
  • All smoke alarms should be tested monthly. All batteries should be replaced with new ones at least twice a year.
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