01/20/08 — Snow problem?

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Snow problem?

By Staff and Wire
Published in News on January 20, 2008 12:31 PM

Parts of Wayne County were receiving a dusting of snow late Saturday and forecasters were calling for enough of the white stuff to hit the ground after midnight to leave a white landscape upon sunrise today.

The National Weather Service in Raleigh predicted from 1-3 inches of snow for the Wayne County area. If there is any snow, it could stick around. Temperatures were expected to barely make it to the freezing point today and drop into the teens tonight, making travel dicey.

Wayne Emergency Management coordinator Mel Powers said state highway officials were to meet Saturday night about 9 p.m. to determine what measures to take, if any.

On Saturday, many county residents were scurrying to obtain enough provisions to see them through a possibly snowy, or icy, weekend.

"Let it snow up to my waist. I love it," said Jan Cox of Grantham while shopping Saturday afternoon at the Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse in Goldsboro. "There's no way to get closer to God than actually being there. Everything is so clear and clean and innocent. It's just a work of God."

She walked past the Ice Melt with her daughter, Ashley Cox of Wilmington, and Nancy Harrell of Rosewood.

"We won't be needing any of this. We don't want it to melt," Mrs. Cox said.

Mrs. Harrell was less enthusiastic about the chances of snow.

"As long as it's on the weekend, it's fine," she said.

Lowe's employee Shawn Moody said the day's most popular items were Ice Melt, kerosene heaters, electric heaters, plumbing insulation and heat lamps. He said he also saw a lot of light bulbs going through the check-out lines.

"I wish it would hurry up and get here," Moody said. "I want to get snowed in and eat snow cream. I have everything for it at home -- just in case."

On N.C. 111 at the Short Stop convenience store, Arin White was hoping it would snow.

"If I have a day off, I sure will be out there playing in it. I always loved the snow," he said.

That would not be the case for Danny Cox, who was in line behind White at the cash register. If it snows, it snows, he said.

"I doesn't matter to me. But I'm not going to be in it long -- not if I can help it," he said. "Right now, I'm just hoping to win the Powerball."

Bonnie Fournier was down the road putting groceries into her car in the almost packed Food Lion parking lot.

"It's funny how they're panicking over a couple inches of snow. I'm excited to see some," said Mrs. Fournier, who said she is originally from Buffalo, N.Y. "It's good to see snow. We want 5 feet."

Deborah Faucette of Kinston was inside the store hoping it would snow knee-deep.

"I'm sure the grocery stores are glad," she said, pointing to the long lines at every cash register. "You've got to get milk and bread as usual."

Anne Luce was in the produce section picking up some items for a cookout -- yes, that's right, a cookout.

"To us, this is warm. My mother back in the western part of New York is measuring it in feet. It comes off the lakes, and it's not pretty. Well, it is pretty," she said. "It doesn't bother us one bit. It's all right if it keeps us inside."

A snow forecast is great for the economy, she observed as shoppers swarmed the aisles.

"You see everybody and your brother when you're out. People seem happy about it. They don't seem to be worrying about it," she said.

Hopes for a significant snowfall faded a bit late Saturday because of the storm's pace and track, said Jonathan Blaes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh. He said the storm moved more slowly and little more to the south than anticipated.

"The roads haven't had a lot of accumulation on them. As long as the roads stay wet and they don't turn white, things won't be so bad," Blaes said Saturday. "But we will have temperatures fall well into the 20s, so any moisture on the road will freeze over."

A winter storm warning was in effect for the northeast Piedmont, with a winter weather advisory in effect for southeastern counties.

A low pressure system moved east northeast across the northern Florida peninsula Saturday evening before speeding away from the Southeast coast. Precipitation to the north of the low was expected to combine with cold air arriving from the northwest to produce areas of rain mixing with and changing to snow.

Blaes said the next problem will be the cold tonight.

"It's going to be one of the colder nights, if not the coldest night of the season," he said. "We're going to be at or below freezing for the next 36 hours or so, and that could do a number on some pipes."

Despite the precipitation, a state Highway Patrol dispatcher said he was surprised at the lack of accidents.

"Everybody has heeded all the warnings the media has put out and the warnings we put out." Trooper M.W. Owens said Saturday night. "We aren't working any wrecks. We don't have anything and we hope it stays that way."