Jan. 2, 2018 - Hampton's Public Works Department will begin pretreating roads today in preparation for a winter storm that could bring 3-5 inches of snow to the area.
The National Weather Service in Wakefield has issued a winter storm watch from 1 p.m. Wednesday to 1 p. m. Thursday. A winter storm watch means there is a potential for significant snow, sleet or ice accumulation that impacts travel. Temperatures are expected to stay below freezing throughout the snowfall.
In addition to pretreating roads with a brine solution, Public Works and other city employees, including police, fire and social services, are closely watching the forecast. Public Works has 39 "snow clearing units" ready to use, including snow plows, salt spreaders and brine units. The majority of the Public Woks staff has been trained or cross-trained to use the equipment and provide 24-hour coverage in two shifts of 12 hours each. The city has 2,300 tons of salt,15,000 gallons of brine and 5,000 gallons of calcium chloride available. Those supplies can be replenished as needed.
The extended freezing temperatures could affect the city's ability to clear the roads as quickly as usual. Because salt won't melt snow or ice when temperatures are too low, the city may need to delay using plows until they can be more effective at clearing the roads and not leaving a sheet of ice behind. As soon as it is practical, the city will clear main roads. (See removal routes - http://hampton.gov/documentcenter/view/4051)
Residents are encouraged to stay tuned to the latest weather reports and to take any necessary precautions now, including preparing an emergency kit (including flashlights and batteries) and taking precautions to prevent hypothermia and frostbite when outside. You can find more information from the state online.
Hampton's Office of Emergency Management will continue to monitor the weather and provide updates.
A Night's Welcome, the winter shelter program provided by Hampton Roads Ecumenical Lodging and Provisions, or H.E.L.P., is available for the city's homeless. As part of A Night's Welcome area congregations rotate hospitality and provide the homeless with shelter, dinner and breakfast throughout the winter. The shelter will be at St. Marks United Methodist Church, 99 East Mercury Blvd., until Dec. 6, and will also be open during the day Wednesday through Sunday.
Anyone seeking immediate shelter should call the Housing Crisis Hotline at 757-587-4202 or 1-866-750-4431. H.E.L.P., which works closely with the city.