01/17/13 — Waiting for first flakes

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Waiting for first flakes

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 17, 2013 1:46 PM

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Wayne County Department of Transportation driver Cathy Snovel loads her truck with salt brine early this morning. Transportation workers across the state are getting ready for the possibility of a winter storm that could hit the area late tonight. Snowfall amounts in Wayne County are expected to be less than half an inch, but DOT officials say they will be watching local bridges for possible icy conditions.

Snow plows were being attached to trucks and the brine solution readied this morning as Wayne County and the rest of the central part of the state were bracing for the first winter storm of the season that could drop one to two inches of snow in some parts of the state.

Snowfall amounts in Wayne are expected to be less than half an inch, according to the National Weather Service.

However, the aftermath of the storm that could leave icy bridges was more of a concern this morning for Luther Thompson, state Department of Transportation maintenance supervisor for the county.

"Since we are on the border line, we are not going to take any chances so we are going ahead this morning and hooking everything up," Thompson said. "We are not putting out any brine. If we put it out, the rain is just going to wash it away. So it would just be a waste."

Thompson said he had seen one forecast while at work Wednesday and that by the time he had returned home it had changed.

"It could push north and miss us, or it could come south," he said. "We will be out during the night monitoring. I am more concerned that once the moisture moves out that the bridges could freeze over so we will have the brine ready. We will check them before day and treat them before the morning rush hour."

A winter weather advisory is in effect for central North Carolina in advance of the powerful upper level storm that will start with rain, but quickly change over to snow this evening.

Accumulation will be mostly on grassy areas.

The advisory is in effect from 6 p.m. today to 4 a.m. Friday.

The storm will start with rain, heavy at times, mainly after 3 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

The rain is expected to turn into snow between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. in the southern piedmont and between 9 p.m. and midnight in the coastal plain.

In Wayne County, a rain/snow mix is forecast before 1 a.m. and then a chance of snow between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.

The high Friday is expected to be around 44 under sunny skies with a north wind between 8 and 15 mph. Temperatures will climb over the week reaching the low 50s on Saturday and upper 50s on Sunday.