The expected arrival of a winter snowstorm Friday afternoon prompted the early closing of area schools and cancelation of afternoon and evening classes at area colleges.
Snow started falling in the Elizabeth City area after 2 p.m. By late afternoon, it had blanketed roadways and most ground surfaces.
The National Weather Service was forecasting a total of an inch of snow and sleet for the Albemarle region by Friday evening. Freezing rain and sleet were expected to replace the snow by Friday evening, as low temperatures fell to 22 degrees. Accumulations of less than a tenth of an inch of ice were expected overnight.
On Friday afternoon, N.C. Department of Transportation crews were treating major thoroughfares with brine to make sure motorists had traction on slippery roads. Numerous accidents were reported, but no details were available early Friday evening.
City crews also applied salt and sand to bridges. City officials said their main concern was the effect ice would have on power lines. Tree branches overloaded with ice easily break and fall on power lines, knocking out power.
Dominion Power spokeswoman Bonita Harris reported scattered power outages on Friday, most of them because of the cold temperatures. The biggest outage, Harris said, came Friday morning in Currituck County,
as 367 customers were affected. She said power was restored to customers by 10 a.m.
Before the snow arrived, area school districts and colleges closed down for the day.
At Elizabeth City State University, classes were called to a halt at 1 p.m., workers were sent home 30 minutes later and all evening activities were canceled.
College of The Albemarle dismissed classes at 3 p.m.
Both ECSU and COA plan to hold classes today as scheduled. ECSU’s winter open house will take place as scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This afternoon’s men’s and women’s basketball games will also take place as scheduled.
Camden County Schools closed at noon, while Perquimans and Edenton-Chowan closed schools at 12:30 p.m. Other school districts in the region released students two hours early. J.P. Knapp Early College in Currituck dismissed students at 1:15 p.m. All school districts canceled evening activities.
Conditions are expected to remain cold today, but temperatures will be going up. This afternoon’s forecast calls for a high of about 40 degrees. Tonight’s low will about 23 degrees.