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PHOTO GALLERY: A standstill follows big winter blast

Nature’s biggest winter wallop in a number of years shut down Halifax County and Southern Virginia, with snowfall ranging from six inches in some portions of the county to almost a foot.

Areas to the west and north received almost 20 inches of snow, placing a strain on Virginia Department of Transportation crews and emergency personnel.

Halifax County Public Schools remained closed Friday, as well as courts and town offices.

A number of businesses closed early on Wednesday as the storm intensified, and inclement weather forced the cancellation of mail delivery on Thursday.

According to Chad Kelley, spokesperson for the Appalachian District of the U. S. Postal Service, the mail could not be delivered in Halifax County because road conditions did not permit delivery of mail from the Roanoke mail distribution center.

The mail was brought to the county and delivered on Friday, Kelley said apologizing for the delay.

The snow began falling early Wednesday afternoon, catching a number of motorists on the highways, resulting in numerous wrecks throughout the area.

From 4 p.m. Wednesday through 8 a.m. Friday, Virginia State Police state police emergency dispatch centers fielded 6,208 calls for service. 

During that same period, state troopers responded to 1,467 traffic crashes and 1,599 disabled vehicles across the commonwealth. 

In the Appomattox Division, state police investigated 199 traffic crashes and 147 disabled vehicles and had 663 calls for service.

The majority of crashes investigated by state police continue to only involve damage to vehicles and no injuries. However, there were two storm-related fatal traffic crashes. The first occurred Wednesday in Halifax County and claimed the life of a local man (See front page story). The second fatal crash occurred early Thursday morning in Loudoun County and claimed the life of a Vienna man. 

The light and dry snow on Wednesday gave Southern Virginia a break, with the area escaping massive power outages.

Dominion Virginia Power spokesperson Le-Ha Anderson said Friday a total of 14 customers lost power from midnight Tuesday through noon Friday.

As of 11:30 a.m. Friday, all power had been restored, and no further outages had been reported, according to Anderson.

A second wave of snowfall Thursday afternoon was wetter and heavier, but was not as significant.

According to the Mecklenburg Electric website, the only power outages were concentrated near Boydton in Mecklenburg County Friday morning.

Over the weekend residents dug out from underneath the wet blanket of snow, which began falling Wednesday afternoon and continued through the day on Thursday.

VDOT reported Friday morning that driving conditions on major routes throughout the Lynchburg District were improved but cautioned icy conditions were still possible due to freezing precipitation on road surfaces.

Major portions of secondary roads in most counties remained snow or ice covered Friday morning, with those in Nelson and Prince Edward counties having significant snow or ice cover. 

VDOT’s goal remained to have all roads passable within 48 hours of the end of the storm, with crews continuing to work 24 hours a day in 12-hour shifts.

Motorists should expect possible refreezing over the next several nights, however. 

The winter storm was not as kind to other areas of the Southern U.S. and Mid-Atlantic states, with thick layers of ice causing power outages throughout Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, in addition to heavy snowfall from Washington, D.C. up the east coast. 

 

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