Tri­an­gle brac­ing for early win­ter storm

The Herald Sun - - Front Page - BY VIR­GINIA BRIDGES AND AB­BIE BEN­NETT [email protected]­ald­sun.com aben­[email protected]­sob­server.com

The Tri­an­gle is gear­ing up for a rare early-De­cem­ber snow­storm, po­ten­tially ru­in­ing week­end plans for hol­i­day par­ties, shop­ping and putting up Christ­mas trees.

The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice is­sued a win­ter storm warn­ing Fri­day af­ter­noon for sev­eral cen­tral North Car­olina coun­ties, in­clud­ing Orange, Ala­mance and Guil­ford. The weather ser­vice also ex­panded its win­ter storm watch to in­clude Durham, Wake, John­ston and other coun­ties.

“This storm comes at a time of year where North Carolini­ans are usu­ally hear­ing Christ­mas car­ols about snow; not ac­tu­ally see­ing it,” Gov. Roy Cooper said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence Fri­day. “But this time the real thing is headed our way.”

Later Fri­day, Cooper de­clared a state of emer­gency ahead of the storm.

The im­pact of the storm is uncer­tain, but the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice on Fri­day pre­dicted that some parts of Ala­mance and Orange coun­ties could see up to 12 inches of snow, and Durham could see 8 inches. Farther east, Raleigh could see 4 to 6 inches of snow.

The pre­cip­i­ta­tion is ex­pected to start as soon as late Satur­day and con­tinue into Mon­day evening.

Snow, sleet and ice could cre­ate haz­ardous driv­ing con­di­tions dur­ing that time, ac­cord­ing to the weather ser­vice.

“Travel is go­ing to be bad,” said Ryan El­lis, a me­te­o­rol­o­gist with the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice in Raleigh.

The ex­pected storm prompted Am­trak to can­cel all of its train routes in North Car­olina on Sun­day. This in­cludes all three Pied­mont trains be­tween Raleigh and Char­lotte, and the Carolinian be­tween Char­lotte and New York City.

In ad­di­tion, the north­bound Sil­ver Star be­tween Mi­ami and New York, which stops in Raleigh and Cary, was can­celed for Satur­day and Sun­day, and the south­bound Sil­ver Star was can­celed for Sun­day and Mon­day.

Cooper urged res­i­dents to “be pre­pared to stay put for a few days when the storm rolls

IT’S NORTH CAR­OLINA. WE ARE USED TO IT. YOU COULD HAVE EV­ERY SEA­SON IN A WEEK.

Kim Davis, 28, of Durham

in.”

“It looks like there will be a wide range of snow­fall out there,” he said.

In west­ern North Car­olina, the storm is ex­pected to drop as much as 7 inches of snow and ice on the Char­lotte area, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice.

On Fri­day, the Weather Chan­nel’s Jim Can­tore was headed to Asheville, which could see more than a foot of snow, the Char­lotte Ob­server re­ported.

In the Tri­an­gle, crews were treat­ing roads Fri­day in an­tic­i­pa­tion of snow and ice.

The weather ser­vice pre­dicted Fri­day that Durham and Orange coun­ties could see 0.05 inch of ice ac­cu­mu­la­tion. Raleigh could see 0.01 inch.

Durham sent five trucks out dur­ing the morn­ing hours to spread brine, said Marvin Wil­liams, the city’s pub­lic works direc­tor.

The city has mounted plows and spread­ers on more than 30 trucks, and crews will con­tinue their work be­fore and af­ter the storm, Wil­liams said. He warned, how­ever, that whether some roads were cleared quickly would de­pend on the type of pre­cip­i­ta­tion and the tem­per­a­ture.

“Snow is much eas­ier to push off the road­way,” Wil­liams said. “Whereas ice, once it gets on pave­ment and we get re­ally cold tem­per­a­tures, the ice sticks to the pave­ment and it is hard to break it off and scrape it off.”

Tem­per­a­tures in the Tri­an­gle are ex­pected to climb into the low to mid-40s Satur­day, with an overnight low of 32. Sun­day should be colder, with a high of 35 and an overnight low of 31.

Overnight lows are ex­pected to drop into the 20s start­ing Mon­day.

In Raleigh, crews were on standby Fri­day to treat roads, spokesman John Boyette said.

“We could start those op­er­a­tions at any time de­pend­ing on the storm,” he said. “We are ready for what­ever Mother Na­ture throws at us.”

There was a sense of ur­gency in Durham, where many peo­ple spent their lunch break Fri­day stock­ing up on gro­ceries in hopes of avoid­ing the rush for bread and milk. Some shop­pers at a lo­cal Food Lion said they were wor­ried not just about the roads and los­ing power, but about the pos­si­bil­ity of fall­ing trees.

“We have a big tree in front of my mom’s house,” said Ashanta Scar­lett, 37, as she un­loaded her cart filled with enough sup­plies to feed her mother, daugh­ter and three nieces and neph­ews dur­ing the storm.

Oth­ers said they were ready, es­pe­cially since they got plenty of storm­prepa­ra­tion prac­tice for hur­ri­canes in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber.

“It’s North Car­olina. We are used to it,” said Kim Davis, 28, of Durham. “You could have ev­ery sea­son in a week.”

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