Like most of Appalachia, Carroll County is in a winter storm warning as the National Weather Service calls for heavy wet snow this afternoon into early tonight. The heaviest snowfall is expected to occur along the higher elevations of North Carolina and Southwest Virginia with snowfall rates within the heavier snow bands possibly reaching one to two inches per hour. Some forecasts are calling for between six and 12 inches of snow locally.
Carroll County Public Schools will dismiss early at noon today in an effort to get students and faculty home before the storm begins. Additionally, Virginia Department of Transportation crews are on standby waiting for the storm to hit. Unfortunately, the rain that is falling ahead of the snow is preventing VDOT from pretreating roads, said Brad Phillips, VDOT’s Maintenance Manager for Carroll County.
“We’re on standby waiting. We can’t pretreat roads when it is raining like this. It just washes the brine out we treat with, so pre-treating does no good with the rain,” Phillips said. “We’ve got trucks on standby and contractors ready to go as soon as we need them.”
In anticipation of heavy snowfall in Carroll County, Phillips said VDOT has more people on standby for this storm than normal.
“We’ve got what we call our on-call people ready to go. Also we are pulling them from our administrative staffs to be placed in certain staging areas to be used,” Phillips said. “I want folks to be careful. Make plans on maybe getting home early today. During rush hour is when the snow is supposed to be the heaviest, and that is when we are worried about it the most. That is our biggest concern now. If you don’t have to be on the roads, don’t be on them.”
Phillips is expecting the snow to begin sometime after noon and last for about 12 hours.
Carroll County Emergency Services Coordinator Mike Mock said his department is also taking extra precautions to prepare for the storm.
“What we normally do is our rescue squads will usually try to get an extra crew to cover when we have storms like this and I have already talked to most of those squads and they are ready with extra people for tonight,” Mock said. “And we always coordinate with extra agencies in case we do need sheltering or things like that. You have to be prepared for those things. It’s one of those things where you know you have to do a little extra just to make sure you have things covered.”
Additionally, the Virginia State Police released the following winter weather driving tips earlier Thursday.
• Leave early and allow yourself extra time to get to your destination
• Obey all the traffic laws and buckle up
• Slow Down – The posted speed limit is for driving during prime road conditions
• Increase your following distance and brake earlier. A wet surface increases your need for stopping distance
• Never drive through standing or high water
• Turn your headlights on during inclement weather. This increases your visibility.
• If your windshield wipers are not on the intermittent cycle, then you must have your headlights on.
• If you feel your vehicle hydroplane, let your foot off the gas and steer straight until you regain control. Do not slam on your brakes.
• Always drive distraction free
If you are involved in a crash, you can dial #77 from your cell phone. This call will go directly to a Virginia State Police Communications Center. When you call, the dispatcher will ask for your location, so it is important to know your route of travel to expedite our response time to your call for service.