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Sculptors make the most of area’s 14-inch snowfall
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Jerry Cobler (from left), Mark Cobler, James Rogers and Matt Cobler show off their handiwork with the snow dragon they made and colored green in their yard on Spring Street in Martinsville on Friday. (Bulletin photos by Mike Wray)
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Sunday, February 16, 2014

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Maybe a dragon in front of a house on Spring Street in Martinsville can gobble up some of the 14 inches of snow that fell locally last week.

Don’t be afraid of the large, mythical monster. Matt Cobler, his son, Jerry, and his brother, Mark, sculpted it out of snow Friday.

It took them about two hours. They used food coloring to make the snow green, rings from Mason jar lids for eye sockets, blue glass bottles for eyes and a red plastic bag for the tongue. The teeth are wooden.

Matt Cobler said George Grogan taught him how to make snow dragons many years ago. He has made dragons instead of snowmen ever since.

Actually, “I don’t know if it’s a dragon or a lizard,” Mark Cobler said, laughing. “It’s kind of fat.”

Numerous snowmen were seen in the yards of area homes on Friday after the sun came out and temperatures rose following two days of snow.

It was hard to determine whether there were more snowmen or people shoveling snow from driveways and sidewalks.

That’s what the Cobler guys were doing.

“I like snow” but not having to clear it, Jerry Cobler said.

An analysis done by the National Weather Service office in Blacksburg showed an average of 14 inches of snow fell across Henry County and Martinsville between 7 a.m. Wednesday and 7 p.m. Thursday.

In the extreme southeastern part of the county near Sandy Level, about 10 inches fell overall, while in the extreme northwestern part of the county, an average of about 16 inches fell, according to the analysis.

As much as 22 inches fell in parts of Patrick County, the analysis showed.

“It was an enjoyable change” of pace in the weather, Mack Waid said while shoveling snow from the sidewalk at Spring Street Baptist Church, which he attends. He said, however, that he hopes the snow melts soon.

“I never thought we’d get this kind of snowfall around here” again, Charlie Martin of Martinsville said as he shoveled a driveway on Sam Lions Trail. He noted that it had been many years since such a large amount of snow blanketed the area.

Perhaps since 1993, according to the weather service.

Martin said he shoveled three driveways on Friday to make a little money.

With temperatures in the upper 50s, it was “a nice day to do it,” he said.

Still, “you have to be in good physical shape” to shovel much snow, Martin said. To prevent overexertion, he advises snow-shovelers “to take your time and go slow, and take a break when you need it.”

A few houses away, Tracie Correa and her sons, Victor, 5, and Vincent, 3, were playing in the snow in their front yard.

“We love it,” Tracie said. “Finally, a real snow day!”

Victor said he likes to make snowballs. Vincent said he likes to throw them at people.

“Payback time!” Tracie exclaimed as she threw one at the boys in return for one they threw at her.

They used red plastic cups to shape their snowballs.

The snow was not all fun and games, though.

At the Cornerstone apartment complex on Starling Avenue, William Allen’s car got stuck in the snow Friday morning. After several people gave him a push to get down the driveway, his car got stuck again.

It was like going “from the frying pan into the fire,” Allen said. Bystanders used a shovel to remove snow from around his wheels and told him to rock the car back and forth a few times. He finally got on his way.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Martinsville Public Works Department crews spent Friday plowing highways and streets.

In both Henry County and Martinsville by Friday afternoon, major routes largely had been cleared and crews were busy clearing residential streets.

Officials expected they would have all roads and streets cleared by today.

Many parking lots have huge piles of plowed snow. Puddles of water were a common sight Friday afternoon. Some parking lots and driveways on hillsides were like creeks as water rippled down, gleaming in the sun.

As the snow continues to melt, some of the runoff likely will make its way onto roads and streets.

As a result, when traveling, “be careful ... every morning until all of this melts” and is gone, said Lisa Price Hughes, resident engineer at VDOT’s regional office in Bassett Forks. Overnight temperatures at or below freezing could turn the water into patchy black ice, which is slippery and hard to see.

Martinsville Assistant Public Works Director Jeff Joyce said snow usually is easier to remove from roads than ice. The problem from last week’s winter storm, he said, was the large amount of snow that fell.

“This has been a mean one,” Joyce said of the storm.

A warming trend is coming, with overnight low temperatures expected to remain above freezing this week, starting Monday. Daytime temperatures are forecast to be in the 50s and 60s Tuesday through Friday.


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