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Early Snow Covers County

An early snow blanketed Halifax County and most of Southside, Central and Western Virginia over the weekend, resulting in numerous fender-bender type accidents due to snowy and icy roads.

Snowfall amounts ranged from three to four inches in the towns of Halifax and South Boston to approximately a foot in the northern parts of the county, according to Meteorologist Jim Hudgins with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg. Scott Sanford at the South Boston Water Plant reported a total of four inches of snow in South Boston.

Light snow started falling in South Boston around 2 p.m. Friday, increasing to heavy snow throughout the day with some sleet mixed with the snow Friday night, Hudgins said. All precipitation ended late Saturday afternoon, but Hudgins said the accumulating precipitation was over sometime Saturday morning.

According to Hudgins, snowfall amounts around the area included eight inches in Danville, five to 10 inches in Pittsylvania County, 12.5 inches in Lynchburg, eight inches in Martinsville, 13 inches in Franklin County, 16 inches in the city of Roanoke, 20 to 21 inches in Roanoke County. Roxboro got six to seven inches of snow, five inches in Greensboro and only half an inch in Raleigh.

Hudgins said the precipitation was mostly rain and freezing rain to the south of Halifax County. Snow totals increased the farther north the storm traveled. Charlottesville reported 23 inches of snow, Wintergreen got 31 inches, and 16 to 17 inches fell in the Washington, D.C. area, Hudgins said.

Throughout the night Friday and into Saturday, state police and other law enforcement officers answered calls to a number of traffic accidents in South Boston and Halifax County.

Sheriff Stanley Noblin said his department stayed busy throughout the weekend. “In addition to our normal calls for service, deputies responded to 16 different calls for trees down on the roads here in the county, as well as 34 calls for minor traffic accidents or vehicles that had slid off the roadway,” the sheriff said. “These calls started coming in during the early afternoon hours Friday, and continued through the night Saturday night.”

In addition to traffic accidents, the storm caused several power outages in various parts of the county due to falling limbs.
A Bold Springs Road woman escaped serious injury when a shed fell, trapping her Saturday afternoon.

Fire and rescue personnel were called to 1051 Bold Springs Road at 4:35 Saturday afternoon when a shed collapsed, trapping a woman under the debris, according to Kirby Saunders, Halifax County Emergency Services Coordinator.

Saunders said the woman had gone to the shed to move an ATV when the roof collapsed because of the weight of the snow.

The victim was trapped for about 20 to 30 minutes before members of the South Boston Fire Department and Halifax County Rescue Squad were able to free her. EMS personnel transported the victim to Halifax Regional Hospital, Saunders said.

Governor Tim Kaine declared a state of emergency Friday ahead of the expected storm and issued the command to call 400 National Guardsmen to active duty to assist state and local agencies in response to the severe weather conditions.

Soldiers were to stage in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Staunton, Covington, Radford, Roanoke, Woodstock, Stafford, New Market, Winchester, Wytheville and Lexington and be on standby for support as needed, according to National Guard officials.
Governor Kaine’s office issued the following statement Saturday:

“With the winter storm emergency in full effect and snowfall continuing in regions throughout the commonwealth, Virginia authorities are working in close coordination to ensure public safety and address particularly tough conditions in a number of communities. Following my declaration yesterday of a state of emergency for the commonwealth, I have authorized an additional 600 National Guardsmen to participate in our response to the storm.

“While state authorities remain vigilant in our response efforts, I strongly encourage Virginians to stay off the roadways to avoid accidents and ease snow removal.”

Saunders said there were approximately 80 calls for traffic accidents Friday night, mostly on Highway 58 and Highway 360. He said there were no major accidents. The Virginia State Police responded to approximately 4,000 calls for service from Friday until 8 a.m. Sunday.

“Everybody did a really good job during the storm,” said Saunders. “Fire and emergency services answered calls and provided assistance, and there were few if any impractical 911 emergency calls.”