Wake, Durham schools close ahead of winter weather
Posted February 12, 2016
Updated February 14, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — Winter precipitation began falling around North Carolina Sunday night and the winter weather is expected to continue through Monday morning, making for a messy commute.
Winter weather advisories were issued for most counties, including Wake, Cumberland, Johnston and Durham beginning at midnight and extending through 1 p.m. Monday. Winter storm warnings were issued Sunday night for northwestern counties, including Person and Orange, and will remain in place until 9 p.m. Monday.
Snow began falling in communities to the north and northwest Sunday evening and began accumulating quickly. Reports said Carrboro had about an inch of snow Sunday evening while parts of Person County saw more than an inch.A low dew point meant that the majority of flakes stayed out of Wake County Sunday evening.
Sunday's snowfall was round one of winter weather said WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth, and more snow, sleet and freezing rain will move into the region Monday morning. Wilmoth said that the snow will remain light throughout Monday morning, but may still create dangerous road conditions because temperatures will be well below freezing.
"Once it starts to fall, the roads will quickly become very slick," Wilmoth said. “I do think roads will be treacherous for at least the first half of Monday, then temperatures will start to warm up and we’ll see this whole thing transition to rain."
WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said that because the ground has been so cold for the past few days, even a hundredth of an inch of freezing rain will create slippery roads.
"We could go from roads that are perfectly clear to literally a rink in a matter of minutes," he said.
In preparation for the winter weather, the Department of Transportation began brining roads Saturday, dumping more than 100,000 gallons of brine in Wake County alone. Brine is most effective when it's down on the road prior to precipitation, but the work continues when the sleet and snow begin to fall.
Steve Abbot with the Department of Transportation said that if more than one inch of snow collects on the roads, crews will begin plowing. Salt and sand are on standby for slick spots that may appear overnight or Monday.
In Wake County, about 50 DOT trucks and 20 contractor trucks are available for deployment and about 20 are available in Durham.
As the high pressure leaves, it will bring in warmer air from the south to turn any precipitation into rain by the afternoon hours. Highs on Monday are expected to climb into the 40s.
"For the evening commute, I think we'll be ok. I think we'll probably be in good shape," Wilmoth said.
Fishel said that the chances to see at least an inch of snow before the rain moves in was more than 50% in northern and northwestern counties but was only at 3% in Raleigh and surrounding areas.
Heavy rain and thunderstorms are possible Monday afternoon and Tuesday.
Tuesday and Wednesday will be much warmer with temperatures topping out in the upper-50s.