Some residents of the SkyHouse Raleigh apartments in downtown thought Friday’s snow and sleet offered the perfect opportunity to take a swim in their rooftop pool.
But don’t worry that they caught frostbite. The water was a toasty 84 degrees.
“When you jumped in, it was nice and warm,” said Cassandra Casbarro, who first took the plunge with friends Michael Rant and Lenny Hughes. Other residents soon followed.
Casbarro said she and her friends were having an “adult snow day.” After their swim, they went out for lunch, then likely were headed back to the pool.
“We kind of figured, why not?” she said.
The diner’s open, if you venture out
Along the Virginia border, the snow began coming down as the sun came up. By early afternoon in rural Granville County, more than 3 inches of snow – and a sprinkling of sleet – covered fallow farm fields and piled up on fence posts.
On U.S. 15 in the community of Bullock, just south of the Virginia border, Betty Fowler opened Bullock Diner, Crafts & Things at about 6 a.m. and started cooking.
“The main reason was for the snowplow operators, so they would have a warm place to come and get a cup of coffee, some hot chocolate, something hot to eat,“ said Fowler. “I’ve seen a lot of plows go by, but so far none of them have stopped.”
Others did, though, including Ray Riley, who comes to the diner every day for at least one meal.
“BLT,” he called out as he sat down at the counter and Fowler went to work.
Riley had food at home, he said, but came out anyway. “I like driving in the snow.”
Just down the highway, members of the Bullock Fire Department rigged up a makeshift two-man sled and hauled it up and down the road behind a four-wheeler.
“We’re just having fun while we hang out, in case we get a call,” said James Poteat, who drove the four-wheeler and swung wide on turns to give the sledders a good ride.
Crews were plowing U.S. 15 but weren’t quite keeping up with the snowfall.
So you want to build a snowman? Sorry
While Friday’s icy slush was not ideal for either snowball fights, sledding or snowman masterpieces, but some in Rolesville took their best shots.
“It’s not fluffy at all right now,” said Rachel Schwenn, a Wake Forest resident who works in Rolesville. “More like ice skating rink, less fun snow day.”
The Via siblings – Areyna, 10; Zeke, 9; Alethia, 7; Cai, 6; and Jude, 3 – did try to build a snowman. But they could only manage to create two lumpy ice balls – one with a carrot nose.
In Chapel Hill, a bar stocks up
In the morning, Chapel Hill and Carrboro could have been mistaken for ghost towns.
But as the day wore on in Chapel Hill, more and more UNC students headed out of dorms and houses near downtown toward Franklin Street, looking for food and something to do off campus.
Mac McAndrews, general manager of 2nd Wind bar on Carrboro’s Main Street, was stocking up for what she hoped would soon be a crowd.
“I’m lucky,” she said. “I live close enough to walk to work. I think people are going to start to get stir crazy in their homes and want to come out.”
On snow days in years past, the bar, often one of the few that opens its doors in such inclement weather, saw the crowds swell and then spill out onto the empty streets for snowball fights and icy nighttime adventures.
As plows tended to the main thoroughfares of Chapel Hill on Friday afternoon, adventurous children in one of the town’s northern hilly neighborhoods were testing prime sledding spots.
The Vawter children – Emma, 17; John Solomon, 12; and Finn, 10 – trudged across the crystalline coating with friend Hunter Hall, 16, to Lake Ellen Road, where the dips and slopes of the road to the small lake are like a slalom course.
Shane Boosey was out with his daughters – Ava, 9, and Mia, 12 – and their friend Audrey Yazejian, 9, on a side street.
The girls talked excitedly about getting a day off from school and venturing onto roadways into a mixture that Audrey described in detail.
“It’s not really like snow, I like the way it feels like ice pellets,” Audrey said.
“It’s fun for sledding,” added Ava and Mia.
Free coffee for public servants
Brown Bag Bagels used Facebook to announce that it was open just after 5 a.m. Friday, and to invite local law enforcement, EMS and firefighters wearing uniforms to stop by for a free coffee.
Owner Norm Fournier, who opened the shop on Main Street in downtown Wendell last May, said he always gives discounts to uniformed officers and responders.
“Today, we just wanted to do a little more since they’re out there in that treacherous weather, just to show our appreciation,” Fournier said.
The area saw mostly ice fall Friday morning and into the afternoon.
A couple of firefighters took Fournier up on his offer. He also invited some of Wendell’s public works crew, who were outside shoveling and spreading salt, to come in on the deal.
Helping Hand aims to help with heat
The Helping Hand Mission in Raleigh says it has given out hundreds of heaters to those in need in the past few days. And more are needed.
If you can help, the mission is taking donations at 623 Rock Quarry Road and 501 New Bern Ave. in Raleigh. For information, call 919-829-8048 or 919-828-9744.
Those in need of heating devices can call the same numbers.
Compiled by staff writers Anne Blythe, Jill Knight, Aaron Moody, Thad Ogburn, Martha Quillin and Kathryn Trogdon.