Wayne County in path of more winter weather
By Steve Herring
Published in News on March 3, 2014 1:46 PM
March came in like a lamb over the weekend, but is roaring back like a lion today as a cold front and moisture will bring yet another blast of winter weather with sleet and freezing rain to the area.
Little accumulation is expected.
However, the threatening weather prompted Wayne County Public Schools to close three hours early, and motorists were warned to be aware of possible icy spots on the roads later today and Tuesday morning.
With rain expected to start before 1 p.m., applying brine to the county's roadways would have been ineffective, said Luther Thompson, state Department of Transportation maintenance supervisor for Wayne County.
"The brine wouldn't do any good," Thompson said this morning. "If the rain comes in, it would just dilute the brine, basically making it useless.
"We are putting spreaders on the trucks so that we can go straight to salt."
Thompson said crews would monitor the roads, particularly bridges and overpasses. However, Sunday's warm temperatures, and this morning's mild weather, mean the pavement is still warm.
The problem areas will be the bridges and overpasses were the pavement temperatures could more quickly fall to freezing, he said.
Those are the areas the salt would be applied to, he said.
Most of central and eastern North Carolina are under a winter weather advisory today from noon until midnight.
The cold air is expected to arrive in northern Wayne County by 4 p.m., a few hours later than originally thought, said Jonathan Blaes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh.
The cold air will cause a "dramatic drop" in temperatures, Blaes said.
Rain was expected before 1 p.m. with sleet moving in by about 4 p.m.
Freezing rain is also likely after 4 p.m. as temperatures fall from a morning high in the mid 50s to 29 by 5 p.m. he said.
The icy precipitation will be steady at first then become "off-and-on," wrapping up by about 9 p.m., Blaes said.
Total sleet accumulation is expected to about a tenth of an inch, possibly up to one-half inch, he said.
It will be enough to make the ground look white and to pose potential problems on roadways, he said.
The temperature will continue to drop today falling to a low of around 20 overnight with a blustery north wind of 13 to 20 mph gusting to 31.
Tuesday's high will be near 38 under partly sunny skies but there is a slight chance of freezing drizzle Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning.
Sleet and freezing rain was expected in the eastern part of the state and the northern Outer Banks beginning Thursday afternoon. Less than a half inch of sleet is expected.