02/12/04 — Wayne sees some snow but mostly rain

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Wayne sees some snow but mostly rain

By Staff and Wire
Published in News on February 12, 2004 2:04 PM

A storm that was expected to leave another coating of snow across North Carolina on Thursday fizzled into a more manageable mix of rain and snow.

Wayne County residents saw a sloppy wet morning. As of this morning, any snow was melting as soon as it hit the ground. Accumulation of 1 to 2 inches was expected through early afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

Tonight it is expected to be partly cloudy with lows in the lower 30s. Friday is forecast to be mostly sunny with highs in the mid 50s.

Only western counties remained under a winter storm warning early today, and the conditions that prompted the warning ended hours before previously expected.

Heavier snow and sleet was expected to spread east into the Triangle this morning with accumulations of around an inch expected, the weather service said. Enough accumulation will be possible across the Triangle and surrounding areas to create slippery roads.

Snowfall accumulations of 1 to 2 inches were expected from Winston-Salem to Raleigh to the Dare County mainland, with isolated amounts up to 3 inches mainly on grassy and elevated surfaces through early afternoon, the National Weather Service said.

Ground-level temperatures were hovering just above freezing from Asheville to Charlotte, turning most of the falling precipitation to rain, said Jeff Orrock, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Raleigh.

"It's falling as snow and hitting this shallow, warm layer near the ground and melting," he said. "Snow is the most difficult thing to forecast. There's so many different ingredients that go into predicting snow versus sleet versus rain."

Similar conditions have delivered 4 or 5 inches of snow, which prompted the earlier weather warnings, Orrock said.

Transportation Department work crews pretreated roads Wednesday night before the expected snow. Some school systems delayed the start of classes, expecting the worst.

"We should be in a little better shape than last time," said Dale Wyrick, operations manager for Greensboro's Department of Transportation. "We're just not expecting conditions to be as bad."

Mountain counties were expected to get a maximum of 4 inches of snow, with more at higher elevations. Several inches had fallen in Asheville by dawn, but began melting as the falling precipitation turned to rain, said Shannon Jackson, a shift supervisor at Buncombe County's emergency management office.

"I guess we were expecting 2 to 6 inches, and we probably got 2 to 3 inches, depending on what area," she said.

Because no sleet or freezing rain was predicted, forecasters said today's storm should be much easier for motorists than the icy mix that glazed roads across much of the state on Jan. 25 and left streets icy for several days.

Crews were busy today at state Transportation Department garages throughout the western region. At the DOT garage near North Wilkesboro, contract driver Dale Pierce was filling tanks on his truck with 1,200 gallons of a salty-water mix he was to spread on road surfaces to prevent icing.

"This load will do 40 miles," he said. The three trucks in Pierce's group would cover 200 miles of roads with their loads of brine.

Officials at the State Climate Office in Raleigh said North Carolina has seen more snow than usual in recent years.

"The past few years have been worse than what we saw through much of the '90s," said Ryan Boyles, an associate state climatologist.

With temperatures expected to reach the 50s on Friday, any remnants of Thursday's snowfall were likely to disappear quickly.