Let it snowPublished 9:47pm Monday, January 27, 2014
Today, an arctic cold front meets moisture from the South in a rare display of eastern North Carolina snow — and, according to reports, lots of it.
Monday, estimates varied widely as to how much snow would fall during this winter storm, tentatively scheduled to start Tuesday morning and taper out on Wednesday afternoon. Some estimates fell to the more conservative 3-inches; others drifted upward to 12 inches. But one meteorologist from the National Weather Service had this to say about the weather phenomena: ”A band of snow, sleet, and freezing rain is expected to materialize by Tuesday afternoon near the Central Gulf Coast, and become heavier over eastern North Carolina and into South Carolina with the very cold air in place. This rare winter storm will make many people who love snow very happy.”
Beaufort County Schools, as well as Beaufort County Community College, took a proactive approach to the storm, cancelling Tuesday classes for all but core staff. As of press time, it was unknown whether schools would reopen Wednesday.
“We’ll just have to wait and see what’s falling,” said BCS Public Information Officer Sarah Hodges. “I imagine we’ll know before we leave at noon.”
A winter storm warning, from the National Weather Service, is in effect from 10 a.m. today until 4 p.m. Wednesday. The warning calls for heavy snow, temperatures remaining in the 20s throughout the storm, with wind chills dropping temps into the single digits and winds gusting to 25 mph. The NWS is also warning eastern North Carolina residents about the dangers of travelling.
“Only travel in an emergency. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency,” read an NWS update.
Lisa Respess, emergency services technician with Beaufort County Emergency Services, seconded that advice, adding that those who must drive in the snow should drive slowly and make way for any emergency services vehicle — law enforcement, fire, medical — on the roads.
Monday, Respess said there were no plans to open any shelters in the county.
“That’s mainly because driving to shelters is more dangerous than just staying in place,” Respess said. “Check on your neighbors. Make sure, if you have grandparents or elderly parents, you check on them.”
Respess said emergency services personnel spent Monday assessing equipment, meeting with county and municipal representatives, checking in with North Carolina Emergency Management, as well as touching base with the National Weather Service in Morehead.
“The conference call we had at 1 p.m. with National Weather Service for our county said the models were looking anywhere from 4 to 6 inches, then they said 6 to 8. They are expecting some isolated pockets of very heavy snow. It’s hard to predict. It’s going to be windy and it’s going to drift,” Respess said.