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Winter packs a one-two punch for Halifax County

Halifax County and surrounding areas were bracing Thursday for a double whammy of rising floodwaters and a fast approaching winter storm.

In response to the impending snowstorm, Halifax County Public Schools closed at 1 p.m. Thursday.

The National Weather Service in Blacksburg issued a winter storm warning for the Dan River region from noon Thursday to 1 a.m. Friday, with up to 6 inches of snow expected.

Temperatures were above freezing early Thursday but were expected to drop throughout the day falling to the low 30s by evening.

According to the National Weather Service, rain would be changing to snow Thursday evening, with a secondary swath of heavier snow possibly affecting Southside Virginia.

Snowfall rates within heavier snow bands could be on the order of 1-2 inches per hour resulting in rapid accumulations in a short period of time, especially Thursday afternoon and evening.

The weather service has issued a prediction of from 3-6 inches of heavy, wet snow for Southside with higher amounts in narrow bands Thursday afternoon and evening.

Power outages are possible due to the heavy, wet snow with winds from the north of 10-20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph.

County residents also are dealing with a flood warning for the Dan River in South Boston.

The South Boston area has seen 3.99 inches of rain since rain began falling early Monday, according to Aubrey Clark of the South Boston waste treatment plant.

Runoff from heavy rainfall since Monday is causing the Dan River to rise, with moderate flooding predicted for the Dan River at South Boston, according to the National Weather Service.

The flood warning continues for the Dan River at South Boston until Monday morning.

At 10 a.m. Thursday the stage was 22.7 feet.

Minor flooding was occurring, and moderate flooding was forecast, according to the National Weather Service.

Flood stage is 19.0 feet, and the river will continue rising to near 25.4 feet by Saturday morning. The river will fall below flood stage Sunday evening.

At 25 feet, the Riverdale business district is threatened.

This crest compares to a previous crest of 25.2 feet on Oct 1. 2004, according to the National Weather Service.

Flooding will continue along the lower Dan River from Danville to South Boston due to runoff from past rainfall and as additional rain and some snow occurs today and tonight, the National Weather Service said.

In anticipation of road and weather conditions worsening as the winter storm approaches, Virginia State Police are reminding motorists to drive safely by slowing down and driving at speeds based on the condition of the roadway.

Virginia State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller advised motorists to leave early and allow for extra time to reach their destination, increase following distance and brake earlier.

Motorists should never drive through standing or high water, and they must have headlights on if their windshield wipers are on.

If you feel your vehicle hydroplane, let your foot off the gas and steer straight until you regain control and do not slam on your brakes, VSP advises.

If you are involved in a crash, you can dial #77 from your cell phone, with the call going directly to a Virginia State Police Communications Center.

Should snow and/or ice occur, VDOT crews will begin their response on the Lynchburg District’s primary routes, including Routes 58, 360, 501, 40, 24, 29 and 460.

With forecasts overnight Thursday and early Friday morning possibly below freezing, any moisture on roadways and other surfaces may freeze.

VDOT urges motorists to use extreme caution, particularly on bridges and elevated surfaces.

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