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Snowpocalypse was the common name for the 2009-2010 snow season with multiple multi-foot snowfalls.

December 2009 storm

Nearly two feet of snow fell on Charlottesville in the week before Christmas during the fourth largest blizzard in recorded history. On January 4, 2010, Public Works Director Judy Mueller appeared before City Council to describe her department’s response. She addressed what went wrong, and offered suggestions to how the city’s response might be improved the next time a massive storm hits town. [1]

Some facts from her presentation:

  • For six days, the streets division ran 12-hour shifts with 30 employees working snow plows to attempt to clear the roads. Seven other employees worked to support the logistics, and to repair broken equipment.
  • Over 450 tons of salt were used in the clearing efforts. Mueller said it takes 100 tons to cover every City street at least once. She said at no point did the City run out of salt.
  • Bridges were treated with a “special liquid chemical” rather than salt to reduce corrosion.
  • All of the City’s secondary streets were salted prior to the storm.
  • Plowing began after two inches of snow had fallen, and crews remained until all streets were cleared.
  • The first priority was to plow primary routes such as the Route 250 bypass, followed by transit routes, and then secondary roads. At that point, crews began to widen the paths made on primary routes.
  • The public works department received over 1,000 calls during the storm, including many people from Albemarle County who had seen the number given out in broadcast news reports.
  • Many private contractors were not available to work for the City until Monday because they had been retained to clear private parking lots.
  • The Police Department had 31 uniformed officers working on the Friday of the storm, 23 working on Saturday and 25 working on Sunday. City officers also assisted with search and rescue efforts for stranded motorists in Albemarle County.
  • The Fire Department had 37 employees working throughout the weekend, primarily to assist with the operation of the UVA Aquatics Center as a shelter for those who could not get home. Officers also helped ferry supplies between the center and the Red Cross’s headquarters on Rose Hill Drive.
  • The Parks and Recreation Department dedicated 32 employees to clearing the downtown mall.
  • Seventeen employees from utilities division were put to work clearing public parking lots and also working on gas leaks and water main breaks.
  • Mueller said her department has repaired 36 potholes in the past week, including 13 on the Belmont bridge alone.

1925 complaints

Similar complaints about city's inability to remove snow were heard during a snowfall in early 1925. [2] City Manager Boyd A. Bennett told the Daily Progress that snow was not cleared in a timely manner due to city efforts to conserve financial resources. [3] He also said snow at city schools was the responsibility of the school board.


  1. Web. City’s Public Works director gives post-mortem on snow removal, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 7, 2010, retrieved April 25, 2014.
  2. Web. Reporter Hears Much Complaint - On Failure of City Authorities to Remove Snow, Staff Reports, Daily Progress Digitized Microfilm, Lindsay family, January 5, 1925, retrieved May 12, 2016 from University of Virginia Library. Print. January 5, 1925 page 1.
  3. Web. City Manager Discusses Snow, Staff Reports, Daily Progress Digitized Microfilm, Lindsay family, January 6, 1925, retrieved May 12, 2016 from University of Virginia Library. Print. January 6, 1925 page 1.