02/12/14 — Ice-strophe?

View Archive


By Steve Herring and Matt Caulder
Published in News on February 12, 2014 1:46 PM

Full Size


Kyleigh Morris, 7, and Dane Blood, 5, take an unexpected sideways skid while sliding down a hill near the overpass at U.S. 70 and Cuyler Best Road on Tuesday afternoon. A powdery snow that fell during the much of the day across Wayne County closed schools and gave children a chance to work on their downhill skills.

The winter storm that will move across the state today and into Thursday is expected to add another one to two inches of snow and up to a quarter inch of ice on top of the two to four inches of snow that fell across Wayne County Tuesday.

Tuesday's snowfall closed local schools and some government offices. However, most roads in the county appeared to be in good shape thanks to pre-treatment with brine, said Luther Thompson, Department of Transportation county maintenance supervisor for Wayne County.

Also, a night crew re-treated bridges and overpasses overnight to attack "spotty" black icing, Thompson said.

A winter storm warning is in effect from 9 a.m. today through 6 p.m. Thursday for what the National Weather Service is calling a "significant" winter storm expected to dump snow, sleet and freezing rain on the state.

The warning means that significant amounts of snow and ice will make travel dangerous and pose potential property damages and extended power outages.

A brief period of light snow was expected before noon before changing over to sleet and freezing rain by early afternoon, said Mike Strickler, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Raleigh.

Freezing rain is expected to continue overnight before changing back over to snow on Thursday.

Heavier accumulations will be to the area north and west of Goldsboro toward Johnston County and Wilson with lesser accumulations south and east, Strickler said.

The area north and west could see another one to two inches of snow and one-tenth to a quarter of an inch of ice.

The totals are expected to be closer to one inch of snow and one-tenth of an inch of ice to the south and east toward Kinston and New Bern, he said.

Wayne County will "get a little bit of it all," Strickler said.

The county is on the edge of the weather pattern making it more "tricky to deal with" because of the multiple changes, he said.

The Wayne County Courthouse was to open at 10 a.m. today for court. However, no Wayne County offices were expected to be open today. The decision will be made later today concerning the county office schedule for Thursday.

Wayne County Public Schools are closed for students. Non-essential personnel were to report to work two hours beyond their normal starting times. They also had the option of taking annual leave, leave without pay or personal leave, if applicable.

Wayne Community College was closed today.

All city of Goldsboro offices were operating on a normal schedule today after closing at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

The county sprayed 49,000 gallons of brine on Interstate-795, the county's four-lane highways and two-lane primary roads Monday, Thompson said.

"Overall, the roads are in good shape," he said this morning.

There were some partially snow-covered roads southeast of Mount Olive toward Seven Springs, he noted.

It appears that the southeastern part of the county received the most accumulation with depths of up five inches reported, Thompson said.

Crews were back on the road this morning spreading salt on bridges, overpasses and the major roads. The night crew will be on duty tonight. What work crews do next will depend on how the storm develops and what falls on the county, he said.

While a blanket of snow coated the ground early today in Goldsboro, city roads were clear for travel but expected to take a turn for the worse as the day went on.

A forecast of snow mixed with sleet and freezing rain was expected through the night, with an accumulation of up to a 1/2 inch of ice by Thursday morning.

"I'm sitting here with three forecasts open," Public Works Director Jose Martinez said early today. "One says snow at 8 a.m., which of course it isn't yet, another at noon and one at 11 a.m. I guess that it's going to come down somewhere in the middle so I am expecting it to start around 10 a.m."

Martinez said the Public Works employees operated on a normal schedule in the morning today but added that the afternoon schedule would be driven by the weather.

"If there is more ice than snow, then our plows can't do much about that," Martinez said. "Then we might have our plow guys go home on time and have our salt and sand guys stay a little later and coat the roads so our plow guys can come back in the morning and knock it out with the plows."

On Tuesday, Public Works employees began putting salt down on city roads to mix with the water left over from melted snow on the above-freezing asphalt.

"When we put the salt down on the road after the snow falls and melts, it mixes into a kind of brine," Martinez said.

The Public Works Streets and Storms division was on call Tuesday night, waiting for any calls from the police and fire departments.

"We were fortunate with Mother Nature last night," Martinez said. "We put down some salt and Mother Nature took care of the rest."

Martinez said about three spots in the city accumulated some snow on the streets because the spots were in the shade of trees or a building.

"I can't even call them problem spots because they didn't cause any problems," Martinez said. "The sun just didn't reach those spots to heat them up before the snow."

If power outages occur during the storm, then Wayne Middle High School Academy at 801 N. Lionel St. will serve as an area shelter.

"Should the power go out, we will redirect over to the school to clear the roads going into the school so people can reach the shelter," Martinez said.