Local News

Some N.C. Schools Cautious, Delay Monday Openings

Posted January 31, 2005 6:42 a.m. EST

— Although a bright sun and above-freezing temperatures melted most of the snow and ice, officials with school systems in northwest North Carolina decided not to take any chances Monday.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools decided to ``err on the side of safety'' and delay school for two hours because secondary roads in the county may still be slippery. Other school systems did the same thing, including Davie, Davidson, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin counties.

Toward the mountains, schools also are on two-hour delay, with limited bus routes, in Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga and Wilkes counties.

In Central North Carolina, Person County schools are on a one-hour delay. Caswell and Alamance counties have delayed schools two hours.

The snowfall Saturday dropped about an inch of snow and caused dozens of accidents in Winston-Salem, but by yesterday, a morning mist and temperatures below freezing mark gave way by early afternoon to a warming sun. The day's high was about 48 degrees.

In the foothills, ice dropped off trees, and fog was thick yesterday morning. But the fog burned off and it was 39 degrees by mid-afternoon at the Wilkes County Airport.

Main roads such as U.S. 421 were almost dry, and even secondary roads were passable, with some wet or icy spots.

Wilkesboro got about 2 inches of snow Saturday. It stayed crusted over with ice Sunday in some places. Other spots had ground already peeking through.

The mountain counties had as much as 6 inches of snow Saturday, but temperatures Sunday afternoon were in the mid-30s in Boone.

``It's getting where everything is starting to melt,'' said Troy Shaffoe of Clemmons, who spent the weekend in his cabin five miles west of Blowing Rock.

There were several minor accidents in the foothills and mountains Sunday, dispatchers said. In Buncombe County, an Arden woman died Saturday while sledding with her children.

Jill Waddell, 36, a pharmaceutical sales representative, was killed while sledding with 8-year-old Emily and 3-year-old Reid Waddell in the family's back yard about noon Saturday.

She was sliding down the hill in the yard of their new home when she slammed into a concrete manhole and died almost immediately from a head injury.

In the Triad area, most people were relieved the storm wasn't as severe as originally predicted.

An inch or so of snow fell Saturday in Greensboro, followed by about a quarter-inch of ice.

But there were no reports of major power outages in the Triad. And higher-than-expected temperatures- 49 degrees in Greensboro - left most roads dry by sundown Sunday.

``It was much better than we anticipated,'' said Dale Wyrick, operations manager for the Greensboro Department of Transportation. ``We figured that we'd be clearing (snow and ice) for several days.'' A six-hour break in precipitation was given the credit.

Snow and sleet fell early Saturday afternoon before stopping; six hours later the freezing rain began, said Phil Badgett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh.

That delay allowed the atmosphere to warm and lessened the storm's severity.