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Eastern Shore expects hardest punch in region’s second round of winter weather

VDOT crews began pre-treatment of area interstates, primary and busy, secondary roads Thursday morning.

ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. — In Northampton County, snow is still melting from a winter storm last week and people are, yet again, preparing for another snowfall.

The Eastern Shore is expected to get hit the hardest by a second round of winter weather this weekend.

We found Dianne Davis at the grocery store.

“With this snow coming, I do not plan on going out into the town until the snow stops and things are clear,” she said.

As of Thursday, several inches of snow are predicted to fall in the area, and emergency crews are bracing for the impact.

Mark Jones, a lifelong Eastern Shore resident, said snow can cripple the area.

“Especially the backroads, and if it weren’t for the farmers, it would be weeks before some of those people could get out,” he said.

“Having two significant snow events like this is uncommon for the Eastern Shore,” said Mike Mason, Accomack County Administrator.

Accomack County will set up an emergency operations center on Friday. Mason said they’ve requested additional resources from the National Guard.

“They get those to us prior to the storm actually starting so that they are not impeded by travel across the [Chesapeake Bay] Bridge-Tunnel if it closes,” said Sarah Dickey, Deputy Coordinator of Emergency Management in Accomack County.

Trucks will be staged at various areas in the region.

Virginia Department of Transportation is in charge of primary and secondary roads.

According to VDOT spokesperson Lindsay Denietolis,  crews began pre-treatment of interstates, primary and busy secondary roads Thursday morning and plan to finish Friday morning, ahead of the storm.

One of the department's biggest challenges in responding to a snowstorm in areas like the Eastern Shore is the blowing and drifting of snow onto roadways from nearby farm fields. After the snowfall ends, the wind can blow snow back onto roadways even after these roads are plowed repeatedly, she said.

“VDOT will address these drifts using snowplows mounted to motor graders and loader mounted snow blowers that are capable of removing more than 1,500 tons per hour,” Denietolis said Thursday.

Accomack County officials expect power outages in the area and ask people to only call 911 for emergencies.

“We only have so many resources and we want those resources to be deployed appropriately and with as little complications as possible,” said Dickey.

Anyone in the area with power outages is asked to call A & N Electric Cooperative at (757) 787-9750.

Mason is thankful the storm is expected to hit on a weekend.

“People who would normally have to travel and get up to work will be able to stay home and just wait this thing out,” he said. “But we are also cognizant that some people don’t have that option.”

Jones is one of those people. He works on the maintenance team for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and will be in place to help drivers stay safe.

“When I was younger I used to love the snow. Now, I’m over the snow, especially when I have to work it,” he said.

Tim Holloway, director of maintenance for the CBBT, said it has eight trucks ready to treat the roadway, and crews will work 12-hour shifts starting Friday.

As always, representatives from VDOT, CBBT, and Accomack County encourage people to stay off the roads during the storm.