Published 5:53 pm Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Guess what? That’s right. More snow is in the forecast for Beaufort County and eastern North Carolina.
After several weeks of winter storms bringing rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain and single-digit temperatures, that inclement weather is forecast to continue today and Thursday, according to the National Weather Service’s office in Newport. Snow began falling in Washington and other areas in the region Tuesday morning. That snowfall prompted Beaufort County offices to close at 4 p.m.
The string of arctic blasts and mixed precipitation has closed schools some days and delayed their openings on other days. Power crews have been busy restoring power. Road crews, when not pretreating roads in advance of winter storms, have been removing snow and ice from interstates, highways, rural roads and city streets.
There’s a 70-percent chance of rain before 10 p.m. today, with a chance of snow and rain from 10 p.m. today until 1 a.m. Thursday, according to NWS forecasters. Today’s high is expected to be around 47 degrees, with the low forecast at about 28 degrees.
There’s a 40-percent chance of snow or other precipitation Thursday, with the high around 37 and the low around 28. The chance of precipitation Thursday night is 20 percent.
Although there is much uncertainty regarding the weather system moving through the area, there are enough indications that suggest significant impacts are possible, according to NWS advisories.
“Lots of people in ditches,” said John Pack, Beaufort County’s emergency-services director Tuesday afternoon, when asked if emergency-response personnel in the county were being taxed by yet another round of inclement weather.
“At one point, we have every EMS squad we have out (Tuesday),” Pack said. “They were all deployed to accident scenes, plus we were bringing in the volunteer units. We had all but two fire departments involved going to accident scenes also. So, yes, it’s taxing a little bit, but it hasn’t broken yet. We haven’t had to go outside the county and bring help in, yet.”
Pack asked people to stay out home and off roads whenever possible during inclement weather.
“If people would just stay home at let DOT to its job and it would allow us more freedom on the road to get to these accident scenes in a quicker manner,” he said.
Pack said emergency-response personnel called in incidents of motorists in ditches as they pass them while responding to other accident scenes Tuesday.
Allen Lewis, Washington’s public-works director, said the city has about two-thirds of the salt it purchased to put down on icy city streets this winter. So far, Lewis said, the onslaught of winter storms is not taxing the supplies and equipment he’s using to keep 53 miles of city streets clear. State roads (such as NC Highway 32) and roads such as U.S. Highway 17 and U.S. Highway 264 in the city are the responsibility of the state.
“It’s not too terribly bad. … We’re good right now, but at the same time it’s all relative,” Lewis said. “Right now, we’re OK. I think even through this week, we should be fine from a budgetary standpoint. But from an overtime standpoint, we’re going to spend some money. That’s going to show up in our February overtime report that’s going to be put out first of next week. That’s not going to look good for the street department.”
The Aurora-Bayview, Swan Quarter-Ocracoke and other coastal ferry services were suspended Tuesday because of icy road and ramp conditions.
Emergency-response personnel again remind motorists to be wary when driving on icy or snow-covered roads, especially at night. Although some sections of roads may appear to be clear of ice, areas of “black ice” may be present, they said.