Practically zero white stuff the entire 2017-18 winter season and then spring arrives, bringing with it some respectable snowfall totals at least by late March standards.
And boy, was it needed.
The mountains of Shenandoah National Park have been all but bare — Blue Ridge brown — for most of the winter, leaving streamflow and groundwater at below normal levels.
Instead of plowing snow, park rangers spent the lackluster winter tacking fire danger warning signs to trees along Skyline Drive down into Thornton Gap.
Heck, more snow was shoveled this winter in Virginia Beach than in Flint Hill.
As for helping to alleviate the long-term drought, any and all snowfall is a blessing. For the record, it takes a whopping 13 inches of snow on average to equal one inch of rain, so the more snowfall the better (not surprisingly, the drier the snow the less moisture content. In fact, 50 inches of very powdery dry snow can only fetch you an inch of moisture).
Otherwise, it didn’t take long once the icy sleet began falling Tuesday morning for the first serious motor vehicle accident to occur in Rappahannock County. Barbara Sharp relayed from the scene that a red pickup truck, traveling on Highway 522 between Huntly and Chester Gap at around 10:30 a.m., overturned across from the Blue Ridge Grocery and Country Store.
“Sleeting, driver lost control on curve,” Sharp was told. Two women were reportedly injured, with one more seriously hurt transported to the hospital by Chester Gap fire and rescue.
By Wednesday morning, snowfall that began overnight left all Rappahannock County roads snow covered and slick. Still, the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office reported no major mishaps overnight into mid-morning, as snowplows outnumbered private vehicles on the highways and byways.
Schools in Rappahannock County were closed Wednesday, with most countywide activities canceled into the night and even today, as temperatures Wednesday night were forecast to dip into the 20s with a threat of refreezing. Even some restaurants in the county alerted customers online that they would remain shut for the day as several inches of snow had already fallen.