Snow tapers off as system moves off NC coast
Posted January 20
Updated January 22
Raleigh, N.C. — A swirling storm that roared across the Northeast early Tuesday quietly made its way to North Carolina by the afternoon, dropping anywhere from a few flakes to a few inches of snow along the way.
The western mountains bore the brunt of the storm, with 5 to 8 inches. In the central region, Sharpsburg recorded the most snow at 2.5 inches.
The amounts were far from the 12 inches that paralyzed Philadelphia or the 10 inches that socked New York City, and it had little impact on traffic. Raleigh police and the North Carolina Highway Patrol reported no weather-related accidents from the evening commute through 10 p.m.
But the potential for black ice remains as the temperature drops into the teens overnight, freezing any precipitation that accumulated on roadways. A bitterly cold wind will make it feel like 8 degrees by 6 a.m.
“It could turn to ice by morning,” WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said, urging motorists to use extreme caution.
Many schools posted delays or cancellations in anticipation of a tricky morning commute Wednesday. Public schools in Edgecombe, Nash, Vance, Franklin, Granville and Person counties will be closed.
Wake, Cumberland, Durham, Orange, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Lee, Chatham, Nash-Rocky Mount, Hoke and Moore county schools, as well as Fort Bragg schools, will be on a two-hour delay Wednesday.
Snow began falling in Roxboro around 5 p.m. and reached Durham about an hour later, sparing most of the evening commuters in the Triangle.
The snow tapered off from west to east as a wide band of moisture pivoted across the state and rolled toward the coast. By the time the snow stopped in towns west of Raleigh, it was still coming down along the Interstate 95 corridor. There were reports of thunder and lightning, known as “thundersnow,” east of the capital city.
“It just goes to show you how strong the system in the upper atmosphere was,“ Fishel said.
Although snow was still falling in Nash County at 11 p.m., it never quite reached the southernmost part of the state, where warmer temperatures kept precipitation from freezing.
“For snow lovers in the southern third of Wake County – what a rip-off!” Fishel said.
North Carolina Department of Transportation crews spread a brine mixture in various parts of the state, and more trucks were on standby. In Wake County, as many as 50 crews were ready to head out and prep roadways overnight.
A winter weather advisory from the National Weather Service remains in effect until 9 a.m. for counties including Wake, Durham and Orange.
WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze cautioned residents who live in areas that received little rain, because even that could freeze overnight and cause slick spots in the morning.
“Don’t let your guard down if you’re watching from the southern counties,” Maze said. “You could still see some issues with black ice.”
DOT officials offered several tips for driving in winter weather:
- Clear windows and mirrors.
- Reduce speed and leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles.
- Approach bridges and overpasses them with extreme caution and do not apply your brakes while on a bridge unless neccessary.
- If you begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Do not apply the brakes as that will cause further loss of control of the car.
- Come to a complete stop or yield the right of way when approaching an intersection in case any vehicles coming from other directions lose control of their vehicles while trying to stop.
- If you have a cellular phone, take it with you. You can contact the Highway Patrol statewide by calling *HP (*47) or call law enforcement by dialing 911.
Wednesday’s high is expected to reach 29 in Raleigh. Daytime temperatures will remain in the 20s and 30s for the rest of the work week, with overnight lows in the teens.