01/07/10 — Snow watch

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Snow watch

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 7, 2010 1:46 PM

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Beth Edwards stocks the shelves with milk at Carlie C's IGA in Goldsboro this morning.

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Department of Transportation workers put down a coating of salt brine on Berkeley Boulevard early this morning. Forecasters are calling for the possibility of snow later tonight into Friday morning.

Work is continuing today to spread salt brine on county highways in advance of an approaching storm that is expected to drop between a dusting to an inch of snow on the area by Friday morning.

No advisories or warning had been issued prior to presstime this morning.

The precipitation is expected to start in the mountains this afternoon where a winter weather advisory has been issued. Up to four inches of snow is expected in the mountains.

The snow should reach the Triad region around sunset and slowly spread eastward, reaching Wayne County by midnight before tapering off by early morning.

The best chance of snow will be between midnight and 7 a.m., said Mike Money-penny, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Raleigh.

Computer models of the storm system vary. Some show a drier system, while others show one with more moisture.

"The precipitation amounts will be light since there is not a lot of moisture associated with the system," he said. "It is unlikely it will be enough to cause any problems."

The area will experience "a fairly decent day" today with temperatures expected to reach into the mid 40s, Moneypenny said. The normal high is around the low 50s.

It will not be as cold tonight with lows dropping into the upper 20s as opposed to the low 20 and teens of recent nights, he said.

"That is a little bit of good news, particularly if they have treated the roads," he said. "The salt should be active."

It will be a cold and blustery weekend with highs ranging from 36 to 38 degrees and lows in the upper teens to about 20 degrees. Temperatures should climb into the low 40s by Tuesday and reach the mid 40s by Wednesday.

The weekend's dry and windy conditions should help quickly evaporate any moisture on the roads reducing the risk of icy conditions, Moneypenny said.

Meanwhile, local Department of Transportation (DOT) road crews Wednesday began spraying salt brine on the county's four-lane highways, U.S. 70, U.S. 117 and Interstate 795.

Spraying those roads will be finished today, said Luther Thompson, DOT maintenance supervisor for the county. Bridges were treated as well on Wednesday and roughly 15,000 gallons of salt brine had been applied, he said.

The county's primary secondary roads will be treated today, and if time allows, crews hope to treat some of the busier secondary roads, too.

However, Thompson still urges caution and to be alert for icy spots. That is particularly true for bridges, shady spots and raised curves, he said.

"Just because the pavement looks dry, don't assume it is clear," he said.

Thompson said plows would be attached to trucks later this afternoon and an additional crew would be called in around 10 p.m.

"We can go ahead and stage and be ready in case of accumulation," he said.

As cold as it has been and because the ground is so cold it will not take much to cause accumulation, he said.

As of this morning, Carlie C's IGA grocery store said they hadn't seen people doing last-minute shopping before the snow, but said they likely would.

"People just freak out," said Perry Kornegay, assistant manager. "They come in and get the basics -- bread, beer, canned goods -- in case they're stuck in their houses."

Kornegay said there has been increased traffic at the grocery store the past couple of days, but attributes it to the beginning of the month when a lot of people do their shopping.

Beth Edwards, frozen food clerk, said she expects to see people later today.

"A lot of people wait until the last minute to stock up on their groceries," she said.

Fred Harris, of Goldsboro, was shopping for a couple items this morning but said he's just doing his weekly shopping.

"I'm not worried about a half inch," he said. "Maybe if they called for a foot, I'd stock up."