01/21/14 — Forecasters: Snow on way

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Forecasters: Snow on way

By Steve Herring and Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on January 21, 2014 1:46 PM

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Wayne County Department of Transportation worker Cameron Whitley checks the salt brine mixture while John Barefoot signals to fellow worker Nick Andras to dump more salt into the mixer as the department prepares for cold weather.

Wayne County students will leave school early today as officials prepare for a sudden chill and the possibility of poor travel conditions caused by a prediction of snow and cold coming the county's way.

No decision has been made about a possible delay in tomorrow's school day.

Light snow accumulation of between one and two inches and wind chills in the single digits are possible today as an upper level disturbance moves through the Carolinas.

The window for snow, however, is narrow, and the real problem could come overnight and early as low temperatures and "howling winds" combine for bitter wind chills in the single digits and the possibility for slick roads and black ice, said Brandon Locklear, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Raleigh.

It is possible the Weather Service will issue a black ice warning overnight, he said.

Local NCDOT workers are already on the roads watching and preparing for any potential black ice accumulation later tonight.

"Just to be on the safe side, we are going to treat some bridges on some primary roads," said Luther Thompson, county maintenance supervisor with NCDOT.

"We'll have a night crew out tonight just to monitor the situation. The biggest issue we'll have is the black ice on the bridges and the overpasses so the guys will be out monitoring the roads," he said.

A  winter weather advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service for the central part of the state including Wayne County from 4 p.m. today until midnight.

The advisory means periods of snow will cause travel difficulties. People should be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibility and use caution while driving.

Wayne County Public Schools has announced an early dismissal because of the weather.

Schools will dismiss two hours earlier than normal, and all after-school activities have been canceled.

The school system will continue to monitor the weather, WCPS director of communications Ken Derksen said.

The Goldsboro News-Argus will announce any further decisions on its website, NewsArgus.com.

This morning's mild temperatures will plummet overnight. Rain is likely, mainly after 5 p.m. before changing over to snow later tonight. The chance of precipitation is 70 percent.

Accumulations of one to two inches of snow are possible with an accumulation of about a half inch of snow expected for the Goldsboro area, Locklear said.

The northern areas of the piedmont and northern coastal plain have the highest probability of high snowfall amounts.

Clouds will increase during the day, with a high near 56. Winds will be light and variable becoming westerly 6 to 11 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 22 mph.

Rain and snow are likely before 11 p.m., then a slight chance of snow between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.

There is also the possibility of a "thunder snow" shower, Locklear said. Areas under such a storm that produces thunder could have snow accumulation of one to two inches, he said.

Overnight lows will fall to around 9 with a northwest wind of 11 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph. Wind chills could be in the single digits between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Wednesday will be sunny and cold with a high near 28 degrees.