Dreaming of a White Christmas?
By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 23, 2010 1:46 PM
Wayne County and the rest of central North Carolina might miss out on a white Christmas Day by just a few hours, but chances are improving that several inches or more could blanket the area between late Christmas Day and Sunday.
"The chances are increasing that (Wayne County) will see a significant snow of more than a couple of inches," said Gail Hartsfield, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Raleigh office. "There is quite a good chance you will see more than a couple of inches. The good thing about it is that it would be all snow. We are not expecting any ice.
"You may see some flakes before midnight Christmas evening. You are likely to see more overnight. The chances are that when you wake up Sunday morning, you will see snow still falling and snow on the ground."
Local Department of Transportation work crews were busy today in advance of the anticipated snowfall treating roads with a salt brine solution designed to help keep the roads clear.
"We have started our pre-treatment of our primary roads today and we may get to the secondary roads and bridges," said Luther Thompson, DOT county maintenance supervisor. "The equipment is checked and we are ready to go. When the snow starts we will be ready to go. Now it is just waiting. We are just waiting for the first snowflake."
Thompson said he is glad the forecast is just for snow.
"If it is snow it is easy to work with and push off," he said.
Computer models that had been providing variations of the storm are beginning to converge into one as more data flows in from the low pressure system tracking from the northern Gulf of Mexico in the southeast U.S., Ms. Hartsfield said.
The storm is expected to strengthen as it turns northeast along the South Carolina and North Carolina coast Saturday night and Sunday.
While there remains a fairly wide range of possibilities as to the storm's exact strength and track, confidence is building that the central part of the state will see accumulating snowfall Saturday into Sunday.
However, it is still too early to predict how much snow will fall, she said.
Today's forecast calls for sunny skies with a high near 46 and a north wind between 15 and 17 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph. It should be clear tonight with a low around 25 and a north wind between 5 and 8 mph.
Friday also is expected to be sunny, with a high near 49 and a north wind between 3 and 9 mph. Clouds will increase Friday night with a low around 28 and northwest wind between 5 and 8 mph becoming calm.
There is a 40 percent chance of rain and snow after 1 p.m. on Christmas Day. It will be cloudy with a high near 39 and an east wind at 5 mph becoming north.
The chance of snow increases to 70 percent Saturday night with a low around 29. More snow is likely Sunday, mainly before 1 p.m. and possibly continuing into Sunday night. Sunday's high should be near 36 with lows that night around 23.
Monday's forecast calls for mostly sunny condition with a high near 37 and a low of around 21.