Jonas ‘paralyzes’ area

Published 11:21 am Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lunenburg County residents took heed of local and state officials’ pleas to stay off the roads during Winter Storm Jonas, which dumped up to 10 inches of snow in many places across the county on Friday and Saturday.

The snow and ice shut down schools, businesses and local governments on Friday and early this week.

“It paralyzed us for Friday night and Saturday. It wasn’t much happening [here],” said Mel Payne, a longtime Victoria resident, who serves as president of the county’s chamber of commerce.

He didn’t get out of his house until Sunday.

“All of the main streets are cleared now — the main thoroughfares through the town — and have been since the snow stopped,” he said of Victoria. “I think Kenbridge is much of the same situation.”

“These streets are still pretty slick,” he said. “The fact is a lot of cars that can’t get out, as of right now,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “The guy that lives on the corner from me, he can’t get out.”

(Photo by Joanie Wallace) Lunenburg Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Wallace played in the snow in Dundas on his day off.

(Photo by Joanie Wallace)
Lunenburg Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Wallace played in the snow in Dundas on his day off.

According to Maj. D.J. Penland of the Lunenburg County Sheriff’s Office, the agency responded to a total of nine reports of disabled vehicles due to the weather — four on Friday and five on Saturday. Only one two-vehicle accident was reported during the weekend, he said.

County Administrator Tracy Gee said parts of the county received between 6 and 10 inches of snow.

“We didn’t expect enough impact on infrastructure due to the amount of snow,” she said when asked why the county didn’t declare a state of emergency. “We were not [of] concern that we would need additional outside assistance. We’re very fortunate that we have fire and rescue and law enforcement that is very responsive and we use four-wheel drive vehicles. We all kind of team [up] together.”

Schools were closed Friday, Monday and Tuesday due to the weather. A water main break closed the schools Thursday.

“I believe some of the food establishments did stay open,” she said of local businesses staying open through the storm, “probably just to help with rescue workers and people that had to be out in the weather, VDOT and so forth.”

Across Lunenburg, the storm was mostly snow with little sleet with strong winds ­— meaning that there was no heavy buildup of ice to bring down tree limbs onto power lines and block roads. There were very few outages reported across the region, according to power companies.