Temps, snow freezes area

Published 1:07 pm Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Area officials are working to combat challenges in the towns of Kenbridge, Victoria and Lunenburg County, areas that have been affected by snowfall and icy temperatures.

Busted pipes, loss of heating and slippery roads are among the issues cited by community leaders following a snowfall of approximately an inch Thursday, according to a reading by the Department of Highways cited by the National Weather Service. Temperatures have averaged in the 20s and teens and have dipped into the single digits, according to the National Weather Service’s Wakefield station.

Numerous incidents of flooding due to burst pipes have displaced residents in the Town of Victoria, and a vehicle accident Tuesday had been cited due to slick roads, according to Victoria Town Manager and Victoria Fire & Rescue Chief Rodney Newton.

Kenbridge Town Manager Robyn Fowler said in an email that water line breakages have been taking place due to the cold weather earlier last week and thawing temperatures Tuesday.

“The cold temperatures have affected some of our water lines,” Fowler said Tuesday. “Our maintenance crew had two water line breaks on New Year’s Eve, and one of those was a 10-inch line. A 3/4-inch line was repaired on another day, and a few more breaks have occurred during this cold weather. More lines are breaking since the temperatures have been rising and everything is thawing out.”

Fowler thanked crews for their work.

“We really appreciate our crews working so diligently in the very cold conditions,” Fowler said.

Newton said burst pipes displaced several residents in two buildings at the Village Estates Apartment complex at 642 K-V Road in Victoria on Jan. 3.

“We had two buildings that were flooded at Village Estates Apartments due to frozen water lines,” said Newton, who noted he did not know where the residents had been moved. “Management had relocated several residents.”

Newton said a similar incident had displaced residents in four apartments at the Victoria Place apartment complex at 1409 Tidewater Ave. He said apartment complex management has moved the residents away from the apartments until they have been repaired.

Newton indicated it was probably a frozen pipe that caused a water leak at the STEPS, Inc. location at 300 Court St. on Monday evening. He said he is unsure if the leak has caused employees to be displaced from the office.

Regarding vehicle accidents in Victoria, Newton said, “We had one (Tuesday) morning off of Rubermont Road as a result of black ice.”

Spokeswoman Paula Jones with Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) said the organization has received reports from the Heart of Virginia about road conditions.

“Crews have been out,” Jones said. “They did apply pre-treatment on major roadways over the last several days and main areas starting over the weekend. They have been applying abrasives and salt and sand as appropriate in trouble areas. Jones said while weather was set to be warmer Tuesday, road temperatures are often colder than air temperatures.

“If people have to be on the roadway today, certainly allow extra time this morning before getting on the roadway,” Jones said Tuesday. “If you must be out, use extreme caution, travel slowly. Make very steady turns; don’t turn abruptly. The biggest thing with these icy conditions, it’s not a matter of getting going, it’s a matter of stopping.” So allow extra time between yourself and other vehicles if you must travel.”

Icy conditions have prompted closures in area schools and organizations.

Lunenburg County Public Schools closed schools Tuesday, according to an announcement on the division’s Facebook page.

Officials from the Piedmont Senior Resources Area Agency on Aging announced Tuesday that the agency’s friendship cafes in Buckingham and Lunenburg are closed, and home-delivered meal routes in Buckingham and Lunenburg counties will operate on a two-hour delay.

Newton said the cold temperatures had been the catalyst for two water line breaks in Victoria, one taking place Thursday and the other taking place Saturday.

Both incidents involved “six-inch mains that broke just due to the cold weather,” Newton said.

Charles Berkeley, superintendent of Lunenburg County Public Schools, cited issues relating to freezing of pipes and heating in the area’s different schools.

“We have had some heating issues and some frozen pipes, but overall it could be a lot worse,” Berkley said in an email Monday. “I have not received any phone calls from parents. However, I know there are homes without heat and (that) have frozen pipes with some electrical issues as well. Hopefully the temperatures will rise, and we can all get back to a normal schedule at home and at school.”

Schools have also been closed Thursday, Friday and Monday due to the snowfall and temperatures.

Tommy Johnson, Assistant Residency Administrator with VDOT, said the organization has worked to clear snow and ice from the roads in Lunenburg County.

“We’ve been planning and taking advantage of every opportunity to plow the roads,” Johnson said Monday.

“It has been quite a challenge,” Johnson said.

“It has been so long since we have had temperatures this low for this long,” Johnson said.