“We will be watching the temperature like a hawk,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Frank McKay. “A few degrees make a difference.”
Just a few degrees fluctuation can mean the difference between snow flurries and icy roads. Temperatures will continue to rise to the high 30s towards the end of the week leaving Tuesday as the coldest day. Between Wednesday night and Thursday by noon, meteorologists forecast a 50 percent chance of precipitation - a percentage McKay said worries him.
A DOT spokesperson said brine will be applied to the roads starting 7 a.m. Tuesday, and Wednesday night they will reevaluate the weather conditions and decide from there what needs to happen next.
Some of central North Carolina saw snow flurries that didn’t stick Monday morning.
“What a doozy of a week we’ve got,” said WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner. “Brace yourself for another round of unseasonably cold air, which will likely last through Christmas.”
Richmond County Schools’ transportation system will be monitoring the roads and weather conditions Wednesday morning around 2 a.m. and the district will decide by 5 a.m. if schools will remain open, have a two-hour delay or close for the day. Ashley Simmons, public information officer for Richmond County schools, said three local TV stations as well as all four radio stations will broadcast the announcements. She said the schools’ websites are being outfitted with a link to weather information.
Meanwhile, the western part of the state continues to receive heavy snow, “expected to bring dangerous travel conditions and power outages” to the mountains, according to WRAL.
McKay expressed concern for those who work outside, and those without jobs.
“Times are hard enough as it is,” McKay said. He sees a “vicious cycle” in the lives of people who work paycheck to paycheck and struggle to make ends meet in the colder months.”
He said experiencing two or three days of cold weather seems tame compared to two weeks of freezing weather, which can keep people from earning their wages. With holiday bills, doctors visits and mounting power bills, the weather can have a severe economic impact on some people.
Staff Writer Dawn Kurry can be reached at (910)997-3111 ext. 15, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.