Weather

Snow tapers off as system moves off NC coast

Posted January 20
Updated January 22

— 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.

Find a complete list of closings and delays here.

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.

63 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • raines mom 2000 Jan 22, 10:16 a.m.

    Ummm...hello..it is stil coming down steady in Goldsboro. Watching outside my window at work. Blech!

  • mafiamic Jan 21, 7:27 p.m.

    People tend to forget that where we are right now billions of years ago..even though years didn't exist billions of years ago..Was under fire and lava and heat globally.
    Then after that where we are now was under miles of ice for millions of years,even though calendars didn't exist thousands of years ago.
    Then the ice began to melt and a-lot of cities that were above ground are now under water.The continents were once connected they were not separated by water.
    Global warming?,no The earth is tilting,even with the industries and gases and man made destroyers no that would not happen in one lifetime and if it did it would not be saved in one or 2 or more lifetimes.
    Thousands of years from now when the earth is still going strong but you are long gone,the people will not thank or praise the global warming peeps for saving the earth,they will probably be going about their day not worrying or living in fear like we do today.
    Live and enjoy.

  • teach4er Jan 21, 7:21 p.m.

    Bring on the snow!

  • injameswetrust2003 Jan 21, 7:20 p.m.

    Is the ice going to melt before 9am? I can't see how school buses would travel at all tomorrow....anywhere.

  • redfish Jan 21, 6:39 p.m.

    Back in the 70s we would say the hawk is out. Here in NC the hawks are smaller but still hawks.

  • caryzoo Jan 21, 5:28 p.m.

    fifefan4life- you are right. Global warming means a trend over time to warmer temps. These arctic temps we have are extreme, all part of the warming trend. It's almost like the earth is fighting to save itself and it's inhabitants. Be they human, animal, insect...etc. Our weather has been extreme, not just here, but the west, Midwest, both upper and lower, the northeast...it is only going to get worse.
    We need to get used to it and work with it. We certainly cannot stop it at this point.

  • Nope Jan 21, 5:01 p.m.

    Global warming doesn't mean no more cold weather, it means more extreme weather, be it hot or... View More

    — Posted by fifefan4life

    There's been no warming for the past 17 years. Try again. You lose. No such thing as "global... View More

    — Posted by 00100111

    This is completely false. 2010 was the hottest on record. Here is a link to actual data.
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/

  • davido Jan 21, 4:38 p.m.

    There's been no warming for the past 17 years. Try again. You lose. No such thing as "global... View More

    Sadly, you will never believe or understand that the science is largely settled here. Global climate change is REAL and is not going away. If you had the motivation to really look into the facts rather than spout the talk radio lies you favor, you would be really saddened at the state we are leaving the planet for our kids.

  • kikinc Jan 21, 4:21 p.m.

    To all the people whining about things closing or delayed because of the hint of snow. Think... View More

    — Posted by nctorwart

    Besides the funding, I think just the size of the school districts themselves are a lot of the issue. Take Wake County for example. Morrisville can have rain, while Knightdale may have 6-8 inches. You can't cancel/delay one part of the county and not the other, so everyone gets inconvenienced. I think the NCDOT does as much as they can with what they're given, and the school districts make a decision based on the hardest hit area of a county.

  • Billy the Kid Jan 21, 4:11 p.m.

    Look, Otis! There's that thar frozen rain ageeeen! How about we freak out and make some southern fried French Toast!

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