Published: 2010-12-26 16:25:00
Updated: 2010-12-26 23:06:03
Posted December 26, 2010
Raleigh, N.C. — It was officially a White Christmas in the Triangle when the first flakes of snow began to fall at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Saturday.
By Sunday afternoon, the bulk of the storm had moved out to the north and east, leaving 6.5 inches at the airport and even more for some locations. Southeast Knightdale saw the greatest accumulation of any Wake County community, recording 10 inches. In east Raleigh, 8 inches was reported – the most within city limits. Parts of Nash and Edgecombe counties saw a full foot of snow.
The National Weather Service extended the Winter Weather Advisories for the eastern half of the state through Monday at noon, warning that after the snowfall ends icy conditions will remain.
"Another half-inch of snow could accumulate through the evening Sunday," WRAL meteorologist Kim Deaner said.
The fast-falling snow exceeded most meteorologists' forecasts as a low-pressure system off the Carolina coast threw moisture west across the state through the day Sunday.
Fierce winds along the North Carolina coast prompted the DOT to suspend ferry operations on the Currituck, Pamlico River, Swan Quarter and Cedar Island routes.
The Northeast was getting the brunt of the storm. Forecasters issued a blizzard warning for New York City for Sunday and Monday, with a forecast of 11 to 16 inches of snow and strong winds that will reduce visibility to near zero at times. A blizzard warning was also in effect for Rhode Island and most of eastern Massachusetts including Boston, with forecasters predicting 15 to 20 inches of snow. A blizzard warning is issued when snow is accompanied by sustained winds or gusts over 35 mph.
As much as 18 inches could fall on the New Jersey shore with wind gusts over 40 mph.
The NFL moved the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings game from Sunday night to Tuesday because of an expected blizzard that could dump up to 20 inches snow on Philadelphia.
The snow that began on Saturday night was the first white Christmas for the Triangle in more than 60 years. The official snowfall at RDU before midnight was 0.4 inch, which equaled the amount that fell on the Triangle on Christmas Day 1947, WRAL Meteorologist Mike Moss said.
The largest snowfall ever recorded in December at RDU was 9.1 inches in 1958.
For thousands of customers of Progress Energy in Wake and Johnston counties, the white out was also a blackout.
More than 100,000 customers lost power for some part of Sunday when heavy snow snapped power lines and dropped snow-laden branches on power supplies. Crews worked through the day Sunday to restore power and expected to have 95 percent back on line by midnight.