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County braces for storm

A major winter storm of historic proportions was bearing down on Halifax County Wednesday morning, with forecasts of more than a foot of snow sending county residents scrambling for supplies.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency Tuesday, authorizing state agencies to be ready to assist local governments in response to the major snowstorm forecast to hit the state Wednesday.

The Virginia National Guard has been authorized to bring up to 300 personnel on state active duty to support emergency response operations.

The Virginia Department of Transportation had begun treating roads, and crews will be out in force for snow removal once the storm arrives.

Roads with the highest traffic volumes will be cleared first.

More than 12,300 pieces of equipment, including trucks and plows will be deployed, according to the governor’s office.

The storm is expected to impact all of Virginia from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning, with up to a foot of snow in many areas of the state.

The state of emergency declaration empowered the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Department of Transportation, the Virginia National Guard and electric and cable utilities to prepare for a storm expected to create power outages and significant travel difficulties, according to the governor’s office.  

County residents were busy Wednesday morning making final preparations for the storm.

Joe Barkley II, longtime resident engineer for the Virginia Department of Transportation office in Halifax, is looking at severe weather forecasts from a slightly different perspective nowadays.

Barkley was seen cruising the bread aisles at Food Lion early Wednesday morning preparing for the anticipated heavy snowfall due to start later that day.

“I’m planning to sit back and relax and enjoy the snow for a change,” said Barkley as he reached for one of the last loaves of wheat bread.

Food Lion employee Celus Glass was busy stocking the shelves with milk in preparation for the final mad dash before the snow accumulates.

“You have to order milk at least four days in advance,” said Glass, who placed an order for 80 cases (320 gallons) of milk a week ago.

The shipment came in about lunchtime Tuesday, and the shelves were just about empty then, Glass explained.

Glass added a lot of people are preparing for a big snow event this time around.

“I see a lot of people buying multiple gallons of milk,” he pointed out.

Across town, South Boston Public Works employee Barry Lewis was making final adjustments to his truck for a night of plowing.

“We’ll be out from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., before the day shift relieves us,” said Lewis.

The threat of inclement weather forced Halifax County Public Schools to dismiss school at noon on Wednesday.