Area bracing for third blast of snow

From Staff and Wire reports

The Daily Advance

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Albemarle residents are bracing for a third blast of winter snow in as many weeks.

The National Weather Service reported the first part of a winter storm system arrived in North Carolina on Monday with a dusting of snow in the mountains and Piedmont, with up to 3 inches of snow in the higher elevations.

A winter storm watch is in effect for much of North Carolina today through Thursday morning. Forecasters say the second day of the weather system will drop light snow from Charlotte east to Fayetteville and near the coast with up to 2 inches anticipated before that storm tapers off.

In the Albemarle, the weather service was forecasting a chance of snow Monday night, mainly before 10 p.m., but with little or no accumulation expected.

The forecast for today calls for mostly cloudy skies, with a high temperature near 35 degrees. A slight chance of snow is anticipated this evening, with the low reaching 27.

The forecast for Wednesday calls for snow likely to fall before 1 p.m., then likely followed by rain. The chance of precipitation is 70 percent, the weather service said.

Wednesday is shaping up as the worst day of the three-day storm. Jonathan Blaes, a meteorologist at the weather service in Raleigh, said a large area of precipitation will spread south to north, covering the entire state by the afternoon.

“We’re going to have a good 12 to 24 hours of precipitation across the state,” Blaes said, calling the last day of weather

“a classic North Carolina, mid-Atlantic storm.”

Snow will be heaviest in the mountains, with up to 6 inches possible. Snow, sleet and freezing rain are expected for the Piedmont. The coastal plain will see rain and freezing rain, according to Blaes, with 3 to 6 inches in the more populous areas and lesser amounts to the east.

Blaes also warned of icing from east of Charlotte to Raleigh on Wednesday, enough to bring down trees and power lines. With temperatures hovering at or below freezing, Blaes said residents in the affected areas will face some challenges.

“Somebody’s going to be hit pretty hard with trees down and power lines down. Folks without power will be in for some tough times,” he said.

Even though the region isn’t expected to receive any significant snowfall until Wednesday, Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Management Coordinator Christy Saunders noted that there is still a lot of uncertainty about the forecast and that forecasts are subject to change.

Saunders said motorists still need to be extra cautious on the roadways Tuesday morning.

Saunders is particularly concerned because of what happened early Friday morning. Following an overnight dusting of snow and ice Thursday, Elizabeth City area emergency officials responded to reports of approximately 30 vehicle accidents.

Motorists especially need to be watchful for formations of ice on pavement — so-called “black ice,” Saunders said. Because ice can also quickly form on bridges and overpasses, motorists should also exercise caution when crossing them, she said.

To make roadways less slippery, state Department of Transportation crews put down de-icing material Monday on the main thoroughfares in Pasquotank and Camden counties, Saunders said.

No school districts delayed school openings on Tuesday. But the Currituck County Schools canceled after-school activities Monday and postponed school board meetings until later this week.

School officials said they will continue to monitor weather conditions before deciding about school delays.