Snow a no-show in Triangle as storm brings wind, rain

Posted March 6, 2013 5:39 a.m. EST
Updated March 6, 2013 6:06 p.m. EST

— A massive winter storm that shut down the nation's capital Wednesday brought barely a dusting of snow to areas north of the Triangle, where warmer temperatures kept anything heavier from falling.

Government offices and schools in Washington, D.C., were shut down as the city braced for up to 8 inches of snow. Flakes were reported as far south as South Hill, Va., where a thin blanket of snow covered the ground.

That snow started to melt around lunchtime, which was welcome news for some.

"I thought this was going to be a mild winter. It sure started that way," said South Hill resident Andy Quittmeyer.

But Dean Howell said he was sad to see the winter white go away.

"I wish we had gotten more," he said.

The snow didn't stick farther south into North Carolina, where flurries fell in Granville and Durham counties.

"Southern parts of Virginia got up to 2 to 3 inches," said WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze. "What we saw throughout the afternoon was rain, and that will die down this evening, but the other big story for us was the wind."

Sustained winds reached 20 to 25 mph in central North Carolina with gusts 40 to 50 mph. 

The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for all of central North Carolina from 6 a.m. Wednesday through midnight.

In Durham, portions of Academy Road and Geer Street were closed as crews worked to clear fallen tree limbs. The limbs brought down some power lines, causing a few reported outages.

The windy conditions made high temperatures in the mid-40s feel bitter. 

Forecasters in mid-Atlantic states were predicting snow accumulations of up to 16 inches in the western Maryland mountains by Wednesday night. 

Still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, the Jersey Shore was prepared for another hit Wednesday and Thursday. One of the biggest problems was flooding in areas where dunes were washed away and many damaged homes still sit open and exposed.

"Low pressure that came by last night is intensifying off Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula. We're having a strong wind come off the Atlantic," Maze said. "That's forcing water up against the shore of New Jersey. Numerous reports of flooding ongoing there."

Those areas could get 2 to 4 inches of snow, with some inland counties possibly getting as much as 6 inches. 

In Virginia, the storm dipped along the coast and dumped moisture-laden snow inland totaling a foot in the Blue Ridge Mountains and up to 21 inches in higher elevations.

Snow skipped over the North Carolina coast, but the storm did cause some sound side flooding on N.C. Highway 12 south of the Oregon Inlet Bridge. Flooding was also reported in the Tri-Village area.

Water is 6 inches deep in some places, authorities said, but N.C. 12 remains open.   

On the other side of the state, North Carolina's mountains could see 3 to 6 inches by the end of the day.

"Everything will start to shift eastward this afternoon as the storm approaches the East Coast," Gardner said. "By Thursday, our area is going to see bright sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures."

High temperatures will climb gradually, topping out in the mid-50s on the final two days of the work week before climbing into the low 60s over the weekend.