Mayors from four cities in Hampton Roads issue statement on massive winter storm

NORFOLK, Va. – Mayors representing four cities in Hampton Roads issued a joint statement Sunday on the aftermath of a massive winter storm that hit the region during the first week of 2018.

Mayor Kenneth Alexander of Norfolk, Mayor Will Sessoms of Virginia Beach, Mayor Rick West of Chesapeake, and Mayor John Rowe of Portsmouth provided this joint statement:

The blizzard of 2018 has brought tremendous snowfall totals, icing, and long-lasting bitter cold temperatures to the entire Southside Hampton Roads region. We have not seen this combination of conditions in decades, nor temperatures this cold in 100 years. The underlying ice layer, created by initial rain and then compounded by traffic, has made recovery particularly challenging.

Preparations started well before the storm, and personnel from each of the cities have been treating and clearing streets, responding to emergency calls of all sorts, and taking steps to assist our citizens wherever possible since last Thursday. While we are focused on response within our individual borders, the leaders and senior management of all the cities have been in close contact throughout the event, sharing strategies, comparing conditions, and providing help where possible. Once again, Hampton Roads is showing that our regional ties are indeed strong.

Help has been forthcoming from our federal, state, and local partners, both professionals and volunteers, and we are grateful for all of their assistance. Plowing assistance by crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation, which concluded Saturday morning as they faced another impending storm in the western part of the state, was a significant asset across the region.

Although bitter cold and significant icing have made the clearing process challenging, plowing and treatment operations in the cities are beginning to show results on the larger streets, particularly the main east-west and north-south connectors and the streets leading to medical, fire, and emergency service facilities. None of the Southside cities plow or treat residential streets, both for reasons of resource allocation and due to the extensive safety and logistical hazards this would cause. We know this is inconvenient for our citizens. We are all looking forward to the forecast warm-up as the new week begins, and to the melting that will bring.

Travel will continue to be difficult for the next several days and we sincerely appreciate your patience as we work to clear the roads. If you must venture onto the roadways, please use extreme caution. Leave plenty of room between vehicles and generally assume that all roads, even those that appear clear, can have icy areas. Please continue to check on your neighbors, particularly the elderly, and offer whatever assistance you can as they also weather the storm.

We want to thank all of our City employees, contractors, government partners, and volunteers who have worked so hard, for long hours, in such difficult conditions. We know the work is not complete, and we know you are dedicated to finishing the task.

Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander – City of Norfolk
Mayor Will Sessoms – City of Virginia Beach
Mayor Rick West – City of Chesapeake
Mayor John Rowe – City of Portsmouth