By Karinne Young
Published in News on February 26, 2004 2:00 PM
Snow, much more than anyone expected, began falling this morning and was quickly building up to the National Weather Service's promise of a major winter event.
Instead of the rain mixed with sleet that had been forecast, the dynamics of the system changed rapidly as snow built up over the southwestern part of the state and began to move north and east.
David Johnson, a Mount Olive police officer, directs traffic as snow falls in front of Mount Olive Middle School after school was let out this morning.
It caught both school officials and transportation workers off guard as it started accumulating in earnest. Wayne County school officials began sending newly arrived students back home at 9 a.m., while DOT employees scrambled to attach plows to state trucks. Wayne County closed its government offices at 11 a.m.
Wayne is among counties under a winter weather warning through Friday afternoon. Snow accumulations could top 4 inches in some areas with sleet and possibly freezing rain mixed in.
Charles Edwards, a Department of Transportation employee, gets a truck ready for plowing. Workers at the Wayne County DOT headquarters on U.S. 70 West prepared dozens of trucks this morning for the winter storm.
The weather service was expecting the snow to turn mainly to rain later this afternoon but another round of heavier mixed snow and sleet was expected to fall Friday morning before tapering off to drizzle or flurries by the afternoon.
Temperatures started to fall from a morning's low of 35 shortly after the snow did, increasing the threat of icy conditions.
With lows around 30 tonight, what precipitation falls is likely to be frozen. Law enforcement officials were discouraging unnecessary travel as conditions continue deteriorating.
People were advised to monitor weather bulletins as the exact effect of the developing storm was still uncertain.
Contrast all of this with Sunday's promise of a fine spring day featuring highs in the 60s and plenty of sunshine to melt whatever wintry precipitation remains.
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