RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — More than a foot of snow in southern and northern Virginia sandwiched the slushy center of the state Thursday, with continued precipitation threatening to make a further mess of the roads.
Virginia State Police reported two weather-related road deaths and said troopers responded to nearly 2,000 crashes and disabled vehicles statewide since the storm rolled into the state Wednesday.
Schools and colleges were canceled statewide and many government offices closed or opened late. Richmond International Airport posted a long list of canceled flights.
Police, snow-clearing crews and the auto club advised Virginians to stay off the roads so plows could scrape off snow, ice and slush coating many surfaces, especially in western Virginia, the Lynchburg region and northern Virginia. The heaviest snowfall occurred in those areas.
While some portions of the state, such as coastal region, escaped the brunt of the storm, the National Weather Service said another band of snow could add several more inches in southern and northern Virginia and rain and sleet could seal it with a slick crust.
Snow depths ranged from 14 inches in Blacksburg and Salem to several inches in the Richmond area. A foot of snow also fell in some parts of northern and northwest Virginia as the storm moved north, bringing more snow to the D.C. region.
"We're not done with this by any means," Blacksburg meteorologist Robert Beasley said. "It's going to be really nasty."
Despite heavy, wet snow in some sections of the state, the state's two largest power companies reported scant power failures.
Dominion Virginia Power said about 1,500 of its 2.4 million customers were without power, while Appalachian Power Co. reported about 400 outages in far southwest Virginia. It has 1 million customers in Virginia and two other states.
The state's electric cooperatives had fewer than 2,000 customers without power, mostly in south and central Virginia.
While snow in Richmond had been turned to slush by rain early Thursday, the downtown area was largely abandoned except for public works crews clearing crosswalks along Main Street. Plowed snow was piled up along curbs.
Some saw opportunity in the winter weather, including a shovel brigade knocking on doors along the snow-covered sidewalks of historic Church Hill.