Snow tapers off but road conditions could turn hazardous

Gloria Lennon walks down E. Martin Street in downtown Raleigh Saturday, February 16, 2013.
Gloria Lennon walks down E. Martin Street in downtown Raleigh Saturday, February 16, 2013.

Snow will continue to fall into the night, according to the National Weather Service, but most of it will do so before temperatures drop below freezing, preventing much of it from sticking.

The state Department of Transportation issued a warning to drivers early Saturday evening, cautioning them about icy conditions developing as temperatures drop overnight.

Crews have been sent to parts of the state where there is more snow, but a second round of DOT workers were headed out to treat trouble spots with salt and sand mixture.

The DOT statement reminded motorists that bridges and overpasses typically freeze first and are hazardous.

Across the Triangle, many areas have seen at least some snow accumulate on surfaces – mainly patches of grass and idle cars. But most streets and sidewalks remain merely wet with temperatures in the mid-30s, and expected to remain there during most of the snowfall.

As a precaution though, the Town of Cary closed its community and arts centers and canceled evening programming. In an announcement, Cary said workers were working to “eradicate slick spots.” Some could be on bridges, which often reach freezing temperatures before roads.

The forecast low temperature was supposed to dip into the mid-20s. That could lead to frozen surfaces for overnight drivers, according to the Weather Service.

“We’d advise anyone driving overnight to be careful,” NWS meteorologist Shawna Cokley said.

About 1 to 3 inches of show fell on the Triangle, though Cokley said some areas north and east of Raleigh could have possibly experienced bands that brought the total to 3 to 4 inches of snowfall.

But those figures count what comes from the sky, not what stays on the ground. With the ground – especially roads – above freezing, much of the daytime snow has melted upon landing.

Cokley did say that falling snow would lower ground temperatures and allow some snow to stick before the temperature dropped. But she expected that most places would have just a thin layer of snow on the ground in the morning, as most of the snow is expected to fall before temperatures sink to below freezing.

What snow is on the ground could be short-lived, with temperatures expected to crack 40 on Sunday.

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer