Fredericksburg and the immediate surrounding areas are spared much of the brunt of the winter storm that passes through late tuesday night through Thursday. Warmer temperatures and rain help hold down total snow accumulations, but areas to the north and west are not so lucky. According to the National Weather Service, snow totals in parts of Stafford and Spotsylvania counties top 7 inches, for Prince William County it is about 6 inches. Areas in Fauquier and Culpeper counties check in at over a foot.
The biggest issue that plagued much of the region through early Thursday evening in heavy wet snow downing trees and power lines. Combining the region's total outages for the major providers, there were times in the afternoon that the numbers topped 100,000. The problem persists well into thursday and beyond for some. Anne Lewis with Rappahannock Electric Cooperative says they initially lost transmission lines. One they were restored, the tedious step-by-step process continues to get everyone back on line. As of 7:00 p.m. Thursday evening, she warns WFLS listeners that those in the dark could stay that way for a while. REC has doubled its' manpower, bringing in crews from as far away as Kentucky and Georgia. Anyone without power that needs to use electric for medical equipment or to provide heat should make alternate plans now.
Though many primary roads will seem clear on Thursday, VDOT officials say that it could actually be black ice and drivers should slow down. For many, the Thursday drive was made worse by fallen trees and power lines. If you do encounter one, do not get out of the car to try and move it yourself. Call 1-800-FOR-ROAD to file a report and try to find a safe alternate route.
As for life returning to normal Thursday, power outages and a refreeze overnight will be the biggest issue. VRE and Metro are planning to operate on a normal schedule, but could experience a few delays. Whether you are driving or taking the rail to your destination Thursday, plane ahead. Give yourself extra time and make sure that you are safe when navigating the platforms at train stations.