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Light snow enough to cancel schools in area

The winter storm that was predicted to hit the region struck Halifax County with a glancing blow, dropping only a trace to approximately an inch of snow across the county overnight Monday followed by periods of freezing mist and drizzle throughout Tuesday.

But what fell was enough to close the county’s public schools, as well as the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, Danville Community College, Averett University and other schools and businesses across Southside Virginia. Southside Virginia Community College officials announced all campuses of the college would close at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Icy road conditions made the Tuesday morning commute interesting for those who ventured out onto the county roadways, especially the numerous secondary roads.

Paula Jones, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) spokesperson, said work crews spread brine on the county’s main roads over the weekend and the early part of Monday in preparation for the storm.

Crews monitored road conditions Monday night and applied abrasives, Jones said. VDOT crews continued the application of abrasives where needed throughout the day Tuesday, and they made inroads on cold spots, such as bridges on secondary roads.

Jones said the work crews would continue to monitor road conditions throughout the night Tuesday.

Danny McCormick, South Boston Public Works Operations superintendent, said conditions Tuesday were not too bad on most of the town’s streets.

“We applied salt and sand on most streets Monday night beginning at 8:30 and continuing until about 12:30 Tuesday morning,” McCormick said. “We continued to hit the slick spots Tuesday.”

With the forecast of snow and the possibility of freezing rain, some merchants geared up to meet their customers’ demand for winter weather-related merchandise.

“We built up for the last storm, so we’re stocked and ready to go,” said Simon Jones, store manager of Lowes of South Boston.
“We’ve got Ice Melt, snow shovels, sand and a good supply of generators,” he added.

Jones said the store has no inventory issues as of now when it comes to weather-related merchandise, but he said this week’s storm could present different problems.

“We’ve seen bigger snows this winter, but we haven’t seen any ice,” Jones explained.

George Hayes, True Value manager-owner, said his store also is stocked with snow and ice removal merchandise, in addition to those items used to have fun in the wintry weather.

“We’ve got a good supply of Ice Melt and snow shovels,” he said. “We also have disks and toboggans.”

Hayes said he keeps an eye on the weather forecast and makes inventory additions as the situation changes.

“Monday is our ordering day, and the truck comes in on Wednesday,” he explained. “So we can have anything we need within a couple of days.”

Hayes, like other local businessmen, makes every effort to think ahead of the impending weather and to have the type of merchandise his customers want whenever winter storms hit.

“It’s that time of season,” he said. “We’ll try to be ready for it.”

Steve Manning, manager of Goody’s, said Monday he hasn’t seen an increase in winter weather gear this time, but snows earlier in the winter took their toll on cold weather clothing.

“We sold a lot of gloves and hats,” Manning explained. “This time we’ve had some calls about boots. We may have a pickup as people scramble for things.”

McCollum-Ferrell Manager-Owner David McCollum said boots have been a big seller this winter. “We’ve sold a lot of boots,” he said Monday. “But the day before a storm is usually not the day customers buy boots. They’re thinking more of bread and milk.

“Boot sales this year have been great,” McCollum said. “It’s been a good boot year because of fashion,” he added.

McCollum said the lack of winter snows hampered the sale of boots, but last year’s snowy winter created a demand for winter footwear. “We sold out of every boot we had last year and reordered,” he said. “And 25 years ago we sold the old rubber boots as fast as we could get them. We didn’t have time to stock them, we sold them out of the case.”

McCollum said boots have been a good seller this year because of the extremely cold temperatures.

“Boots offer protection against the cold as well as against moisture,” he explained.

Wayne Anderson, Farmer’s Foods store manager, said Monday the demand for staples has increased with the forecast of bad weather. “It cranked up this morning,” Anderson said. “This is the normal pattern.”

Anderson said his customers have been buying large amounts of the old stand-bys.

“Folks have been stockpiling bread, eggs, milk and bottled water,” he said. “And for some reason they also load up on toilet paper.”

The manager said people have been buying a lot of bottled water. “Water has been a good seller,” he explained, “especially when there are chances for power outages.”