02/17/04 — Snow or no?

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Snow or no?

By Staff and Wire
Published in News on February 17, 2004 2:03 PM

From staff and AP reports

Pennsylvania's groundhog knew the sad truth when it saw its shadow earlier this month, signifying six more weeks of winter.

At least that's how it's going to be today and Wednesday before more seasonable weather returns. What remains to be seen is whether the precipitation that falls is mostly snow, rain, sleet, freezing rain or a mix.

Wayne County schools were getting prepared for the weather, with schools closing today at 10:30.

Periods of wintry precipitation were expected across sections of the sandhills and coastal plain today and tonight, according to the National Weather Service in Raleigh.

Earlier today, snow and freezing rain moved across the region leaving a glaze of ice on metal surfaces and wetting the pavement. Another round of precipitation, expected to be heavier, was to spread over the region this afternoon with snow accumulations of 1 to 2 inches and possibly more near the Interstate 95 corridor.

Meteorologists expected a low pressure system to form off the North-South Carolina coast that would push in moist air over colder air near the ground. As of mid-morning, forecasters were still uncertain of where the low would form or how far offshore it would move. That would have a significant effect on the kind and amount of precipitation that falls in Wayne County.

The weather service advises people to monitor weather conditions for updates or changes. Forecasters said motorists need to be cautious because scattered slick spots are likely to be found on untreated roads later today and more so tonight.

In central North Carolina, the heaviest snowfall was in the area defined by Raeford, Fayetteville, Dunn and Benson, the National Weather Service said. Precipitation was expected to taper off by midday before resuming in the afternoon and into the night.

The slick snow caused wrecks on Interstates 40 and 95 during the closing hour of the morning commuters' rush, and some school districts made plans to call off classes early.

"Troopers are very busy right now," said 1st Sgt. Everett Clendenin of the North Carolina Highway Patrol. "Mainly, our calls for service are in the Johnston-Harnett county area. Those are two areas to avoid until the roads clear up somewhat."

To the west of the advisory area, skies were dry. Rain fell in some area along the coast to the east of the area.

The advisory area included the counties of Chatham, Cumberland, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Nash, Orange, Sampson, Scotland, Vance, Wake, Warren, Wayne and Wilson.