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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Sheila Martin picks up her granddaughter, Myriah Robertson, a first-grader at Patrick Henry Elementary School after an early dismissal on Tuesday.
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Bitterly cold temperatures today will ensure that the snow that fell Tuesday will not be going anywhere soon.

Henry County Public Schools will be closed Tuesday, and Henry County Administrative and PSA offices will open at 9 a.m.

Temperatures as low as 10 to 15 degrees were expected at daybreak today, according to Chris Fisher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Blacksburg.

With the temperature warming up to only 32 degrees today, he said, Tuesday’s precipitation still will be on the ground.

An inch or so of snow was forecast in Henry and Patrick counties through Tuesday night before ending, Fisher said.

No precipitation is forecast today for the two counties, and Thursday is expected to be dry as well, Fisher said.

James Clark, another meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in Blacksburg, later said tonight, low temperatures of 8 degrees in Martinsville and 8-10 degrees in Patrick County are forecast.

The high temperatures Thursday are forecast in the mid-30s in Martinsville, in the upper 30s in the lower elevations of Patrick County and about freezing in the upper elevation of Patrick County near Floyd County, Clark said.

The high temperatures Friday are forecast to be 49 in Martinsville, 45-49 for most of Patrick County and the lower 40s for the upper elevations of Patrick County near Floyd County, Fisher said.

Saturday the high temperatures are forecast to be in the low to mid-50s, he said.

The Associated Press (AP) reported mid-day Tuesday the coastal region of Virginia was bracing for a winter storm that could bring up to a foot of snow near the North Carolina border, which comes only a week after several inches of snowfall brought much of the area to a standstill.

The National Weather Service said the heaviest snowfall was expected to occur Tuesday night in southeastern Virginia Beach and southern Chesapeake, the AP reported. The snow was set to begin Tuesday afternoon and continue into today (Wednesday) throughout the region. Many grocery stores’ supplies of bread and milk already were depleted by Tuesday morning while hardware stores were running low on snow shovels, firewood and salt, the AP reported.

The Virginia Zoo in Norfolk closed early on Tuesday and had no plans to open on today (Wednesday), while the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach also was scheduled to close early on Tuesday, the AP reported.

In Virginia Beach, many stores had brisk sales of sleds as flurries began, demonstrating the excitement some feel for the snow, the AP reported.

Many local school districts made plans to dismiss students early on Tuesday and to close schools today (Wednesday), the AP reported. Government offices and businesses also made similar decisions for their employees, who were confronted with the possibility of being hit by the storm just before the evening rush hour began. Employees at the region’s Navy bases were told to stay home on Wednesday unless they were considered mission essential personnel.

At Naval Air Station Oceana, the Navy’s master jet base on the East Coast, afternoon training flights were canceled in anticipation of the storm, base spokeswoman Kelley Stirling told the AP. She said clearing the base’s runway of snow would be a top priority, but that it could take several days to get operations up and running again, the AP reported.

Road crews were preparing to clear as many thoroughfares as possible just a week after going through the same routine when about 3 inches of snow fell in the southern part of Hampton Roads, the AP reported.

This time, six inches to a foot of snow were forecast for Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. Other areas in the region could receive 3 to 6 inches of snow, the AP reported.

Repeated snowfalls in the Norfolk area are rare, the AP reported.

Norfolk’s city government issued a local declaration of emergency on Tuesday, which allows it to track storm expenditures for reimbursement.

The good news for motorists is that temperatures shouldn’t remain below freezing for long, which should aid in clearing roads, the AP reported.

“The good thing is, by Thursday it’s back up to 34 in Norfolk. By Friday, it will be up into the mid-upper 40s,” Scott Minnick, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Wakefield, told the AP. “It kind of depends on how much snow we will actually get. We do clear out nicely by Wednesday night and mostly sunny Thursday, especially for Southeast Virginia.”

Martinsville City Schools dismissed three hours early Tuesday, schools spokeswoman Jennifer A. Martin said.

According to its website, Henry County Public Schools also dismissed early Tuesday: elementary schools at 11 a.m. and middle/high schools at 11:30 a.m.


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