The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

February 12, 2014

Snow forecast prompts storm preps

By Ritchie Starnes, News Editor
The Stanly News & Press

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 — If Tuesday’s innocent snowfall accomplished anything, it forced everyone in Stanly County to acknowledge that so far the weather forecast has been fairly accurate and that a greater winter storm is coming.

By all accounts this is it — the big one. Although Tuesday’s snow amounted to little accumulation and only wet roads with temperatures remaining above freezing throughout  the day, the weather was accurately predicted. That forecast also calls for heavy snow to arrive Wednesday afternoon and continue into the night with temperatures to remain below the freezing point, perhaps making the evening and Thursday the most treacherous for travel.

“I know people say they have to get to work, but you’re going to risk your safety and other people’s safety by getting out on the roads,” N.C. Highway Patrol 1st Sgt. Eric Thompson said.

“I don’t see how it’s worth getting stranded on the road that could be for hours. People need to stay home.”

Tuesday’s weather was enough for Stanly County Schools to dismiss early for the day and the forecast so severe that classes were canceled Wednesday.

The N.C. Department of Transportation applied brine to area roads Monday and sand on bridges Tuesday night in anticipation of icy conditions by Wednesday morning, said Steve Lee of DOT’s Division 10 in Albemarle.

DOT practices three phases in preparation of storms. Applying brine is part of the first phase, followed by treating bridges.

Lee said DOT could reapply salt after the storm gets underway.

The final phase includes clearing the roads with a snow plow, which also calls for a wait and see course of action.

“We’ll let it snow some,” Lee said.

“It depends on how fast it comes down before we reapply salt and start plowing.”

Meanwhile, bread and milk has again vanished from grocery shelves as folks prepare to hunker down for the snow.

Others headed to service stations for kerosene for portable heaters, especially if ice-covered power lines result in the loss of electricity.