A blast of Arctic air will bring in rain and snow to the Elizabeth City area, along with a hard freeze and bone-chilling conditions, officials at the National Weather Service at Wakefield, Va., said.
Meteorologist Mike Rusnak said the major changes would be coming this evening, when the temperatures start falling. Rusnak said the temperatures will continue to remain freezing Wednesday morning.
“It’s going to be a very cold week,” he said.
Rusnak expects rain — later changing to snow — to start probably after 1 p.m. today. He said that, by approximately 7 p.m., with the presence of Arctic air, there could be a couple of inches of snow.
This will mark the second cold wave in Elizabeth City this month, with the previous one having come Jan. 7, but the last one did not bring any snow flurries.
Non-weather related, Chowan County Schools will be closed today and Wednesday for students in grades 6-12. The Camden, Currituck, and Perquimans County schools will be closed today to students for a teacher workday.
The Weather Channel’s hourly forecast said today’s high is expected to reach 51 by early this afternoon before falling into the 40s by mid-afternoon and into the 30s after sundown. Winds this evening are anticipated to be north to northwest at anywhere from 19 to 22 mph.
The temperature is expected to steadily decline into the 20s by 10 p.m. It will be 22 degrees by midnight, but with the wind chill factor, the temperature will feel like only 7 above zero.
By 7 a.m. Wednesday, the temperature is expected to be only 17 degrees, but will feel like only 1 above zero. Northwest winds at 18 mph are expected.
Rusnak said he is forecasting little or no melting on Wednesday.
Sunny skies are anticipated Wednesday morning and the temperature should reach back up to 22 by noon, but only feel like 8. The temperature should reach 27 by mid-afternoon, but only feel like 16.
Rusnak said there will be a bit of warming trend by Thursday. The forecast for Thursday calls for partly cloudy skies, with a high of 41 and with a low of 18.
However, it will be cold again Friday, with cloudy skies in the morning, and a high of only 31 and with a low of 21.
The changes come after Monday’s highs reached the high 50s and low 60s before dipping into the mid-to-low 40s Monday evening.
Meanwhile, Camden County Sheriff Tony Perry is urging motorists to pay close attention to the weather advisories due to possibly icing of roadways.
Carolyn Self, who is chief executive of the Greater Albemarle Area Red Cross, said that, “My guys make sure that we have cots, blankets and other necessities ready to go in case something should happen.”
City Manager Rich Olson said his concerns include rain and snow, followed by a possible forming of black ice, and trees being weighed down with ice.
, with limbs falling and possibly causing power outages.
“We stay pretty much ready all the time” and that, “We’ll work very, very closely with emergency management.”
Perry advises motorists to budget more time to get to a destination, to drive slower and to watch for other motorists.
He also advises motorists not to go out unless absolutely necessary. Perry said that deputies will be at the ready for any traffic-related conditions and that the Camden Sheriff’s Department has four-wheel drive vehicles if needed.
“We have everything pretty well set up,” Self said. Self said she will be phoning all Red Cross volunteers in the area and making sure who she can count on should a shelter need to be opened.
Self estimates probably less than a 50-50 chance a shelter will be necessary and noted a shelter has never been opened unless families find themselves without power for a lengthy amount of time.
Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Management Director Christy Saunders said she is continuing to closely monitor weather reports and will determine the best courses of action.
Additionally, Olson is concerned about the same kind of demand on the municipal electric system as earlier this month, but he said the municipal electric crews will be on standby.
At the same time, Olson said city crews already do a good job keeping trees trimmed away from power lines. And, if need be, street crews will be putting salt and sand on city streets, Olson said.
Julia Casadonte, a spokeswoman for the N.C. Department of Transportation, said DOT officials in the Elizabeth City area should be deciding today whether to put de-icing material on bridges, highways and roads.
The area DOT officials want to know whether rain will come first, Casadonte said. Casadonte said that is because if there is rain first, then crews will hold back because the rain would just wash the de-icing material off the pavement.