Weather

Brine trucks roll under sunny skies to ready for weather's turn

Posted March 10

— Friday was a delightful day for a drive. The weather was comfortably warm and skies were clear.

Behind the wheel of trucks owned by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, drivers in short sleeves patrolled the bridges, ramps and low spots of highways across the Triangle, spreading brine ahead of a forecast that calls for cold and snow.

The salt-and-water solution creates friction on the road surface that can keep any snow that falls from sticking and creating a driving hazard.

DOT spokesman Steve Abbott said about a dozen trucks were brining Friday afternoon in Wake County. Through the course of the weekend, about 100 workers and 70 trucks will be available.

Abbott said drivers will come on duty early Sunday morning and respond to whatever happens.

Like the general public, they were watching the weather on Friday, as meteorologists refined a forecast that could bring possibly a trace to an inch of snow from Fayetteville north to the Virginia line.

Fayetteville and points to the south were the best situated to see snow accumulate, but only up to about an inch, WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.

"A lot of the computer models are just saying it looks like very small amounts of precipitation for us," said Maze said.

The storm system that will bring the snow will blow through North Carolina early Sunday morning. Temperatures will drop down into the 30s by the time the system arrives and eventually dip down near freezing, giving every county in the Tar Heel State at least the chance of seeing a flurry of snow.

With ground temperatures in the 50s, though, the snow won't stick around long. A light layer of snow could turn the ground white briefly Sunday morning, but eventually the warm ground will melt it away.

The winter interlude was enough to have gardeners, both professional and amateur, worried about plants prompted to bloom by an unusually warm winter.

Mark Weathington, director of the J.C. Raulston Arboretum, said he was seeing plants that were up to two and a half weeks ahead of their usual spring bloom.

"All the flower buds and new foliage coming out, if we get into the low 20s, that's gonna all be killed," said Mark Weathington, director of the J.C. Raulston Arboretum.

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