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How Shenandoah National Park prepares for winter weather on Skyline Drive

Published: Feb. 28, 2020 at 5:31 PM EST
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Even though the calendar flips to March on Sunday, winter weather can still occur in the Shenandoah Valley.

Shenandoah National Park has had to do less work this winter maintaining Skyline Drive due to the overall lack of snow. But for a scenario when a winter storm is coming, the park has a certain protocol.

"We want to clear Skyline Drive before the storm actually hits. So we pay attention to the weather forecasts, we listen to the National Weather Service," said Sally Hurlbert, management specialist with Shenandoah National Park.

"We've had to close Skyline Drive four or five times this year so far due to inclement weather conditions. Normally, we don't close the whole park, but we do close Skyline Drive due to unsafe driving conditions," Hurlbert said.

Most of the Skyline Drive closures have been due to freezing rain and ice this year. Only minor snow events have impacted Skyline Drive this winter. Skyline Drive rarely closes for wind, unless widespread wind damage occurs.

It is important to note that even if rain is falling in the Valley, that may not be the case in higher elevations where Skyline Drive is located — there, it may be snow or ice or both.

For information on weather conditions regarding Skyline Drive, you can call 540-999-3500. Select option 1, then option 1 again.

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