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Winter weather

Winter weather

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Approximately five inches of snow fell across much of Orange County Sunday in the first substantial snowfall this winter.

The snowfall began early Sunday morning before tapering off to an intermittent mix of light snow, sleet and freezing rain later in the day.

Northern Piedmont Center Manager Greg Lillard, who records local weather data, reported 4.5 inches of snow when he arrived at the Route 15 research station Monday.

Orange County Schools originally had been scheduled to return to in-person learning Monday after nearly a month of exclusively virtual instruction, but all classes were canceled Monday because of the weather.

Monday morning, local Virginia Department of Transportation officials reported major highways across the Culpeper District (which includes Orange County) were “mostly clear, but secondary roads still have patches of snow and ice. Light snow and mixed precipitation that fell overnight, coupled with below-freezing temperatures, has created slick driving conditions in some areas.”

VDOT crews worked overnight, moving from the primary highways onto secondary roads and neighborhood streets. Crews had pretreated primary roads Friday with a brine mixture of salt and water in advance of the weekend weather.

By Sunday evening, the Virginia State Police reported responding to 362 traffic crashes and 321 disabled or stuck vehicles, including 31 wrecks and 30 disabled vehicles within the Culpeper District (which includes Orange County).

Meanwhile, Sunday’s winter weather may be a prelude to even more severe weather this coming weekend.

Clear and cold weather is expected for Friday and Saturday, followed by another chance of wintry weather between Saturday night and Monday night.

Unlike this last dash of snow, the next system promises to be slower, wetter and more complicated, including two possible waves of significant snow beginning Sunday.

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