12/24/10 — Snow watch

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Snow watch

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 24, 2010 1:46 PM

Snow, possibly up to two or more inches, may be in this weekend's forecast, but as of Thursday afternoon people still appeared more interested in finding Christmas gifts than preparing for a possible white Christmas.

Berkeley Mall was packed with holiday shoppers, some of whom gathered in front of the Leonard Bearstein animatronics orchestra whose songs included "Frosty the Snowman" and other snow-related musical numbers.

A developing coastal storm is expected to spread snow into central and eastern portions of the state late Christmas Day into Sunday.

However, officials at Lowe's Home Improvement and the Mount Olive Piggly Wiggly said it was business as usual Thursday. At the grocery store, there had been no run on staples like milk and bread and Lowe's still had shelves of winter supplies.

Gary Mervin, operations manager at Lowe's, expects that to change.

"So far it has been calm," he said. "Most everybody has been Christmas shopping, but that is subject to change."

Once snow pushes Christmas shopping aside, Mervin expects to see shopping for decorations and gifts give way to shopping for cold weather supplies.

The most recent threat of winter weather several weeks ago took a toll on the store's stock of Ice Melt used to help clear sidewalks and parking lots.

"We are trying to get more in," he said. "Hopefully we will have some (today). We sold a considerable amount last time."

Other popular cold-weather items are gloves, heat lamps and bulbs for keeping pets warm and products used to winterize pipes and toilets

Brothers Christopher, 11, Evan, 9, and Cody, 7, and mom, Jamie Boswell, of Johnston County were shopping at the mall, but were excited at the prospect of snow and a white Christmas.

Evan said he had not kept up with the forecast, but knew that the snow is on the way.

"It is fun to do snowball fights at other people," he said -- especially if that other person is a brother like Christopher.

"I like making a snowman -- a big one," Evan added. "I will be happy because my little brother has always wanted it to snow. We wear lots and lots of coats."

"I like the snow, but I don't like it to stay long," Mrs. Boswell said. "I want to have a white Christmas because my son has always wanted a white Christmas and he hasn't seen one yet. He didn't get a chance to play in it the last time it snowed. When he woke up, it was gone and he cried because he loves snow so much."

Mrs. Boswell said her family enjoys making snow cream. However, she doesn't have a secret recipe -- she calls her mother for instructions.

Jackie Newsome was shopping with her daughter and grandchildren, but was looking forward to the snow.

"That is wonderful," she said. "I like to sleep, eat, relax and just enjoy family (when it snows). You know you have got to touch the snow. You know we only get snow every blue moon around here. So once it comes you have got to experiment with it.

"We like building snowmen, throwing snowballs and making snow angels. I am really hoping it will snow, snow, snow."

Winter weather advisories for light snow are expected for a large portion of central North Carolina Saturday night into Sunday.

An upper level disturbance will move across the area Saturday spreading light snow or a rain-snow mixture. Little, if any, snow accumulation is expected through Saturday.

A developing coastal storm is expected to spread snow across the eastern half of the state early Saturday night into early Sunday.

Computer models of the storm's development continue to evolve. The latest suggests that most of the precipitation, in the form of a light snow, will fall Saturday night into Sunday morning.

Snow amounts are expected to vary from less than one inch in the northeast Piedmont to two to three inches in the Coastal Plain, mainly east of I-95.

According to the National Weather service, there is a chance of rain after noon on Christmas Day. The forecast calls for cloudy skies with a high near 42 and a calm wind becoming southwest around 5 mph.

Rain and snow are likely Saturday night, becoming all snow after 9 p.m. It will be cloudy with a low around 28 and a calm wind. The chance of precipitation is 70 percent.

Snow is likely, mainly before noon, on Sunday. It will be cloudy with a high near 35 and a north wind between 10 and 14 mph. There is a slight chance of snow before midnight Sunday. It should be mostly cloudy with a low around 21.

Monday is forecast to be mostly sunny with a high near 37. Monday night should be mostly clear, with a low around 21.