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First blast of winter weather hits Halifax County

Schools, businesses and government offices were closed, meetings were cancelled, and police handled a number of weather-related crashes as Ol’ Man Winter made a premature appearance in Halifax County Thursday with a mixture of snow, sleet, rain and freezing rain.

Winter officially begins Tuesday, Dec. 21, but Thursday’s wintry mix may have been a preview of coming attractions for the winter months. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the region can expect a very cold winter with average wintry precipitation.

Thursday’s precipitation began as light snow before dawn, getting heavier around 7 a.m., just in time for the morning commute for many county residents. The precipitation in South Boston turned to sleet for a brief period before changing over to rain and freezing rain later in the morning.

Most motorists heeded warnings to slow down and exercise caution on the county’s highways and roads, as Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews worked to make roadways passable.

The official forecast from the National Weather Service (NWS) called for snow, freezing rain and sleet, becoming all freezing rain after 2 p.m. with a high temperature predicted near 31.

Weather service meteorologists predicted total daytime ice accumulation of less than one-tenth of an inch and total daytime snow and sleet accumulation of one to three inches possible.

The forecast called for areas of freezing rain Thursday night, mainly before 10 p.m., with a low around 29.

Halifax County got a small taste of wintry weather during the evening hours of Saturday, Dec. 4, with a dusting of approximately one-inch of snow, according to NWS figures.

Extremely cold temperatures earlier in the week resulted in whatever happened to fall Thursday morning to quickly stick to the ground and also to road surfaces.

The highest official recorded temperature was 34 Monday and Wednesday, with the mercury peaking at only 31 Tuesday, according to weather service data.

Lows dipped into the teens Tuesday and Wednesday, with official lows recorded at 16 Tuesday and 14 Wednesday. Individual locations in the county may have had lower temperatures, but these were the official lows recorded by the NWS, weather officials said.

Though this week has been extremely cold for this time of year, the coldest official temperature was recorded at 13 degrees on Wednesday, Dec. 8, according to weather service data.

Virginia State Police, the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, the South Boston Police Department, the Halifax Police Department and Halifax County Emergency Services urge all motorists to exercise extreme caution when driving on snow-covered or icy roads and streets anywhere in the county or towns.