Schools to exit early

Jan. 24, 2013 @ 07:11 PM

Roads have been prepared, and crews in various areas of emergency response are on alert for freezing rain and possible snow today in Vance County.

School systems throughout the area were monitoring forecasts. Vance County Schools will dismiss elementary and high school students at 11:30 a.m. and middle schools at 11:45 a.m. Vance Charter School also announced a half-day schedule for Friday.

E-911 will be fully staffed at five dispatchers today in anticipation of possible traffic or other weather related mishaps, and city street crews have been working since Wednesday to prepare roads.

“Right now, they’re calling for afternoon accumulation of about an inch,” said Jason Reavis, the assistant director at the E-911 dispatch center. “There’s freezing rain possible afterward. That’s what the National Weather Service is telling us.”

Reavis said the storm is not expected to be any kind of knockout blow to utilities, and it his understanding is state Department of Transportation and local crews have been applying salt and water mixture called brine to help keep accumulation on roadways to a minimum.

“That should help,” Reavis said. “We are not expecting any widespread power outages or anything like that.”

Henderson Assistant Manager Frank Frazier said his street crews are using the same brine solution as DOT crews. He said roadways should be mostly clear unless the storm brings more freezing accumulation than expected.

“We’ve been brining some of our roads since yesterday,” he said. “That helps keep the snow and ice from sticking to the roads. It works pretty good.”

Crews are ready for a bit of a work weekend, and the city budget is also set for paying the overtime, Frazier added.

“We’ll continue to monitor the situation and check for ice conditions especially at intersections, throughout Friday night and Saturday,” he said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration center in Raleigh called for 1-2 inches of snowfall for Vance County, but that estimate is not a prediction on actual accumulation once the precipitation is done.

The snow is expected primarily in the afternoon hours, with a high temperature near 30 degrees. Freezing rain is expected between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., according to NOAA.

Indications for Saturday and Sunday are for sunny weather, highs in the 30s above freezing, according to NOAA Raleigh, with a warming trend continuing into early next week.

Frazier said the brine solution used by city crews is corrosive, so vehicle owners will want to wash it off their automobiles after the storm event is over.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.