Snow causes some minor headaches

Published 3:11 pm Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Staff Writer

Beaufort County weathered an unusual Christmas-weekend snowstorm relatively unscathed, with no deaths or significant injuries reported because of the weather.
Most of the major routes in the county were reportedly passable by Monday.
“The main roads are showing up OK,” John Pack, the county’s emergency management coordinator, said Monday afternoon.
“We are expecting some black ice (Monday night) on secondary roads,” Pack cautioned.
Some traffic accidents had been noted over the weekend, but none that were considered major, he said.
Around 500 Tideland Electric Membership Corp. customers experienced power outages at some point Sunday, related Heidi Smith, spokeswoman for the company.
The outages were scattered between Washington and the Plymouth-Roper area, Smith said.
On average, the longest outages persisted for approximately three hours, she added.
“Of course, it was just slow going to get to folks,” Smith pointed out, referring to the time it took power crews to reach affected locations.
Most of the outages occurred as snow froze over on branches, bringing them down as night, and temperatures, fell Sunday, according to Smith.
Similar problems were expected with power lines overnight Monday into this morning.
“It’ll be a busy evening, I imagine, for the crews,” Smith said.
The good news was no utility poles had fallen, she said, adding falling tree limbs are the No. 1 cause of power outages.
“We always say this is a good reminder of why folks need to be mindful of tree trimming,” Smith said.
Outage information wasn’t immediately available from Washington Electric Utilities.
Some secondary roads around Washington remained slippery Monday afternoon, especially in shady locations that hadn’t seen much warming sunshine.
The National Weather Service forecast a low of 18 degrees Monday night, practically guaranteeing that much of the slush or snow remaining on roads would refreeze before daybreak.
“In areas where there has been significant snowfall, it may be Wednesday before secondary roads are clear,” reads a news release from the office of Gov. Beverly Perdue.
Officials urged motorists to drive carefully on their way to work or other destinations this morning, and to avoid unnecessary travel altogether.
The N.C. Department of Transportation posts updates on travel conditions on its website at
With frigid temperatures expected to persist for a time, Pack asked residents to think of their outdoor pets.
He said pet owners should consider bringing their animals inside or providing extra bedding or other accommodations until the weather improves.
“Pets are a concern at this point,” he said.
Snowfall totals varied throughout Beaufort County, but, on CBH Lodge Road east of Washington, an unofficial measurement taken late Sunday evening yielded a total of 4 inches of fluffy, packed snow.
Another unofficial measurement, taken west of Washington in the Clark’s Neck vicinity, yielded 6 inches.
Some parts of the state saw more than 18 inches of snow fall from Saturday through Sunday, while other spots got just a dusting, DOT said in a news release.
Tips for driving on ice and snow:
• Reduce your speed. Driving at the regular speed limit will reduce your ability to control the car if you begin to slide.
• Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles.
• Bridges and overpasses freeze over first. Approach them with extreme caution and do not apply your brakes while on the bridge.
• If you do begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Do not apply the brakes as that will cause further loss of control of the car.
Source: N.C. Highway Patrol