Accumulation ends up short of forecasts

Jan. 29, 2014 @ 05:26 PM

The thin dusting that covered Vance County Tuesday night in less than an inch of snow prompted local schools to close for the day, with road crews working well into the night clearing streets.

Frank Frazier, interim director of the City of Henderson’s public services department, said his crew started pushing snowplows around 11 p.m. until the early morning.

“We have folks on the trucks now plowing throughout the day so it won’t refreeze tonight,” Frazier said.

At press time, The Dispatch had word from Vance County that county buildings would not open until 10 a.m. today. District Court was set for a 10:30 starting time this morning.

Schools and Vance-Granville Community College were expected to make decisions later Wednesday evening. (See hendersondispatch.com for available notices.)

On Tuesday morning, forecasts from the National Weather Service were anticipating as much as 3-6 inches of snow starting in the afternoon.

But snow didn’t fall within Henderson proper until dusk. Crews were on standby as it accumulated and forecasts were scaled back to 1-4 inches.

Vance County Schools, Granville County Schools and Warren County Schools all closed.

Vance-Granville Community College closed Wednesday as well.

Brian Short, Vance County emergency operations director, said his crews determined no more than 2 inches totaled throughout the county and most main roads were clear by mid-morning.

“From what we are seeing, it looks like the northern part of county got a little more than the southern part,” Short said.

Frazier said the city applied salt brine and sand before the snow fell on main streets.

“We got some secondary streets, but some we have not gotten to and we will try to get to those late this evening,” Frazier said.

Short said secondary roads are expected to be in pretty rough shape Thursday morning.

“We expect to have some black ice,” he said of ice that can form when snow refreezes.

“We could very well have some problems with it tonight and in the morning commutes.”

The National Weather Service reported Wednesday that roads remain snow covered and dangerous across all of central North Carolina, with temperatures below freezing during the day.

The weather service forecast below freezing temperatures throughout the night, and issued a winter weather advisory until today at noon, citing concerns of widespread black ice.

Vance Charter Principal Sean Connolly said he wouldn’t be surprised if school closed partially on Thursday.

“I don’t see anything clearing up and it’s supposed to be very cold tonight,” Connolly said.

He said Wednesday was his school’s second snow day this year.

Henderson Collegiate, the county’s only other charter school, also closed Wednesday due to weather-related concerns.

Vance County Schools dismissed students at noon on Tuesday, though some counties closed school entirely that day.

Since his charter school has more flexibility with regards to state-mandated testing, Connolly said he didn’t think the snow days would present much of issue for exams.

He said the days would likely be made up by sacrificing optional teacher workdays built throughout the year.

“It does make things more complicated,” he said.

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.