County Declares Snow Emergency as Storm Looms

Snowmageddon. Snowzilla Deux. Snowmare. Regardless of your favorite pet names for our last two snowstorms you’re about to need a third as yet another major snowstorm strikes our area this afternoon.

Clarke County Administrator David Ash declared a local snow emergency today at noon (February 9, 2010) due to the impending winter storm. Clarke County has established an emergency  shelter at Johnson Williams Middle School for residents who cannot access their homes due to blocked roads and for those who have lost power and do not have access to alternate power or heat sources. Residents requiring emergency transportation assistance are asked to call 540 955-1234.

Many Clarke residents are still struggling to recover from the 27” of snowfall that occurred less than three days ago. While most major roads are clear, many secondary roads are still hazardous.

A trio of low pressure systems stacked from Minnesota through the lower Ohio Valley and into the Gulf of Mexico will

snow-601-captiondeliver significant snowfall over the Mid Atlantic region and much of the central Midwest by Thursday morning. A low pressure center currently over the Gulf of Mexico will follow a classic “nor’ easter” track locating it just of the coast near the  Virginia – North Carolina  boarder by mid-day tomorrow. The two remaining low pressure systems will merge into a single storm center and move toward eastern Ohio during the same period. Virginia will receive snow from both systems thanks to  strong Arctic high pressure delivering plenty of cold, snow-making air.

The National Weather Service is predicting 8” – 15” across our area.

Storm supplies have dwindled throughout the area with local hardware stores reporting shortages of shovels, salt and snow-blowers. However,  the brief respite from the last snowfall allowed Berryville Food Lion to fully restock its shelves. Food Lion’s store manager reports plenty of all essential products.

Although the previous snowstorm dumped an extraordinary amount of snow over our region, the high winds that had been predicted to accompany the storm did not materialize. Our region may not be so lucky this time. A well defined high pressure ridge located behind the storm will send strong winds rushing into the wake of the storm system as it exits to the northeast on Wednesday evening. The National Weather Service predicts wind gusts near 35 mph on Wednesday. The strong winds will almost certainly cause significant drifting and reduced visibility for drivers.

Moderate snow was already beginning to fall across the Central Shenandoah Valley at 10:00 a.m. EST. Residents should pay close attention to this developing storm prior to travelling over the next two days.

National Weather Service 2:00pm EST Update:

Winter Storm Warning

Late Afternoon: Snow. High near 26. East wind around 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Tonight: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 21. East wind 5 to 9 mph becoming north. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.

Wednesday: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. High near 27. Windy, with a northwest wind 15 to 18 mph increasing to between 25 and 28 mph. Winds could gust as high as 48 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.

Wednesday Night: A chance of snow, mainly before 9pm. Cloudy, with a low around 19. Windy, with a northwest wind between 22 and 26 mph, with gusts as high as 45 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.