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Tar Heel Tempest Keeps Meteorologists, Emergency Management Officials Busy

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RALEIGH — Forecasting North Carolina winter weather can be a meteorologist's worst nightmare.

From Murphy to Manteo, rain, gusty winds, and heavy snow raked the entire state on Tuesday. This latest atmospheric salvo has sent the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management into full swing.

With radar images, satellite photos, and The Weather Channel projected on giant screens around their command center, the people at Emergency Management are in charge of keeping North Carolina moving during times of crisis.

At the division's downtown Raleigh headquarters, folks work around the clock, keeping an eye on trouble spots around the state. With that information, they can plan ways of dealing with the wild weather's ugly aftermath.

Emergency Management Director Eric Tolbert says that no one in the Tarheel State is being left untouched by this latest taste of Old Man Winter.

WRAL meteorologist Greg Fishel says that Tuesday's forecast was on-target for about 90 percent of the state. But, the other ten percent of the state got blind-sided by a monsterous snowstorm. Ashe County, in North Carolina's northern mountains, reported up to 17 inches of snow. 15 inches were reported in Boone.

On North Carolina's coast, gale warnings were flying and a heavy surf advisory was posted as forecasters expect seas to swell up to 12 feet Tuesday night. High winds and high seas could cause beach erosion Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Some soundside flooding was also expected.

Here in central and eastern North Carolina, forecasters posted a flood watch, and a flurry of flood warnings Tuesday evening. Heavy rains and saturated soil are causing some rivers and streams to step over their banks.