Winter storm turns Triangle white, roads slick

From staff reportsJanuary 17, 2013 

  • School information Chapel Hill-Carrboro: Will announce decision by 6:30 a.m. Friday Chatham County: Two-hour delay Durham County: No classes for year-round students. Traditional students already off. Franklin County: Two-hour delay. Granville County: Two-hour delay. School officials in Durham County cancelled school Friday for year-round students. Johnston County: West Smithfield Elementary and South Smithfield Elementary will operate on a two-hour delay Friday. Early College and Middle College on regular schedule. Staff workday at traditional-calendar schools. Orange County: No decision at 10:45 p.m. Wake County: Two-hour delay. For updates on closings and delays, go to www.newsobserver.com

There were reports of sporadic power outages and a few downed trees as a winter storm turned parts of the Triangle white and made roads slick late Thursday.

As much as 4 inches was forecast to fall in some areas, according to the National Weather Service.

Snow began to accumulate on roads in Orange County as early as 9 p.m., but Orange County Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools were still undecided about closing or delaying classes on Friday, according to their websites at 10:45 p.m.

School officials in Durham County cancelled school Friday for year-round students. (Traditional students already had the day off.) School leaders in Wake, Franklin and Granville counties announced a two-hour delay for Friday morning. Wake Tech classes will start at 10 a.m. Friday.

In Johnston County, officials said West Smithfield and South Smithfield elementaries will operate on a two-hour delay Friday. Early College and Middle College will be on a regular schedule, and staff members at traditional-calendar schools will have a workday as originally scheduled.

Duke Energy reported only a few hundred customers without power Thursday evening, but Progress Energy outages hovered around 4,000 most of the evening.

An overnight low of 30 degrees “could slick up the roads” Friday morning before temperatures go back up, WTVD meteorologist Don Schwenneker said, making the early commute dicey for those who must venture out.

The state Department of Transportation, however, stood ready Thursday night to clear roadways statewide. They had forgone spreading a saltwater mixture on the roads in advance of the storm to melt snow. Thursday’s rain before the snow would have just washed the brine off, officials said.

Friday, however, is supposed to be clear and warmer, with highs moving back into the low 40s.

In the western mountains, forecasts varied, with as much as 6 inches of snow forecast for Asheville, up to 8 inches in northern border counties and up to 3 in southwestern border counties.

The weather service said the system setting up the Triangle for the snowfall involved a cold front dropping across the area from the north during the day, then stopping over or just south of the region.

The front made a track for a low-pressure system to run from west to east, pulling in cold air.

That system was expected to move away Friday morning and be replaced by dry, cold air for the weekend, forecasters said.

For the latest conditions and updated forecasts, go to www.newsobserver.com/weather.

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