Albemarle to get snow, but may escape worst of weather

By WILLIAM F. WEST and JON HAWLEY

The Daily Advance

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The winter storm that’s expected to drop between 6 and 11 inches of snow on other parts of North Carolina today could be less of a weather event in the Albemarle.

A mix of rain and snow is forecast to begin falling in the Elizabeth City area sometime after 1 p.m. today before changing to rain sometime after 4 p.m., local Emergency Management Coordinator Christy Saunders said Tuesday.

The rain is expected to continue after 5 p.m. and linger through the day on Thursday, Saunders said. The rain is then expected to change back to light snow showers Thursday evening before finally ending later Thursday night, Saunders said.

No significant accumulation of snow is expected either today or Thursday.

Saunders emphasized, however, that weather forecasts are subject to change and that residents should continue to monitor weather reports and road conditions.

She and Pasquotank Sheriff Randy Cartwright also urged motorists to exercise caution if they have to get on the highways over the next several days.

Cartwright recalled how there were more traffic accidents — approximately 30 — following the four-tenths of an inch of snowfall Friday morning than after the 3 1/2 inches that fell one day late last month.

“They thought it was OK, but the streets were frozen,” Cartwright said, referring to motorists who woke up Friday morning to icy roads, bridges and highway overpasses.

Jennifer Garifo, a spokeswoman for the N.C. Department of Transportation, said DOT crews put down anti-icing brine on the main bridges and highways across the region on Monday. Because some of those areas received light rain afterward, crews went back out again on Tuesday and put more brine down, she said.

DOT crews are making sure debris-removal equipment, such as chain saws, are in working order in case they are needed, Garifo said.

“We’re just getting prepared right now,” she said.

Spokeswoman Bonita Harris said Dominion N.C. Power is expecting snowfall across its service territory by 5 p.m. today. No major impact from the storm is expected in either northeastern North Carolina or the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, she said. Even so, Dominion plans to have crews ready to respond to possible outages.

Only one area school district delayed the opening of school today. Currituck County Schools, which also canceled all after-school activities on Tuesday, delayed school openings today by two hours, citing the uncertainty of the weather forecast and reports of light snow falling in southern Currituck Tuesday afternoon.

Local residents, meanwhile, were largely nonchalant about the latest forecast of snow. The storms are a nuisance, they said, but one easily solved with a little common sense and chilling out at home.

Elizabeth City resident Phillip Mallory, who’s been riding the storms out at home, said the number of snowfalls over the past month — three and counting — is certainly unusual.

“We haven’t been getting snow for the last couple of years,” he said, describing recent winters as very mild until now.

He hoped this week’s snowstorm would be the last one to blanket the area this winter, but said there’s no telling what’ll happen in the weeks to come.

Lelia Sherman just shrugged off the last forecast for snow. She just moved to Currituck County from Boone, and she said snow here pales in comparison to western North Carolina.

“I kind of laugh about it,” she said.

The western part of the state is used to heavy snowfall, she said, and snowplows and road treatment crews are a regular sight. She said the snowfall last month forced her employer on the Outer Banks to close. With the roads not well cleared or treated, she just rode out the snow at home, she said.

Elizabeth City BB&T Bank employees Chris Langley and Jen Liverman also lost time at work due to the snow. When the snow hit, Langley said he just stayed home — avoiding inexperienced and “stupid” drivers as much as possible — and hoped for warmer weather to return.

Liverman added she took similar steps, and burned through a lot of movies to pass the time.

Jarvis Abbott, a military veteran and Elizabeth City resident, said he’s seen much worse weather. Over various deployments, he said he’s gotten used to rough wintry conditions. Like Langley, he said his biggest concern during the last snowstorm was other drivers.

“The biggest thing is people don’t slow down,” he said.

Many drivers here don’t keep an eye out for “black ice” — ice on pavement — and try to drive as they normally would, Abbott said. That’s a recipe for traffic accidents, he said.