Winter refuses to give up its grip

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Mar 05, 2014 - 02:24 PM

What a difference a day makes.

On Sunday, residents of Gloucester and Mathews were outside, many in T-shirts and shorts, enjoying afternoon temperatures hovering around the 70 degree mark. Less than 24 hours later, sleet, quickly giving way to snow, provided a vivid reminder that Old Man Winter is still hanging on.

It was difficult for many to believe during the spring-like day on Sunday that the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) in Wakefield had issued a Winter Storm Watch for the very next day. That watch was soon upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning, prompting officials to announce early school and county office closings, with many making the decision Sunday night to shut down on Monday.

In Gloucester, both schools and county offices were closed Monday. Government offices reopened at noon on Tuesday, after icy conditions on many roadways had greatly improved once temperatures climbed above freezing. Schools remained closed Tuesday.

Schools in Mathews were also closed Monday and Tuesday. County offices closed early Monday in Mathews and some offices had a delayed opening Tuesday.

Virginia Department of Transportation officials have had plenty of experience in dealing with the winter weather this season, as Monday’s was the fourth major snowstorm to hit the region this season.

VDOT spokesperson Kelly Hannon said 800 pieces of state and hired equipment were circulating throughout the Fredericksburg, Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula areas to clear roadways. Crews were mobilized at midnight Monday and continue to work around the clock in 12-hour shifts until all the roadways are clear.