ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County was sliced in two by this week’s storm, with the northern part of the county receiving as much as 6 inches of snow, while the southern region only got a thin layer of ice after a day of mostly rain.
Nothing was a more clear indication of the disparity for Ellerbe Mayor Lee Berry than the snow levels in town compared to that of The Berry Patch, just a mile and a half south. Ellerbe got about 4 inches of snow, the roadside stand at the 220 exit just a half-inch.
“My famous saying is ‘Rain and snow has got to stop somewhere’ and I guess that’s where it chose to stop,” Berry said. He added that “you can’t compare” the snowfall in Rockingham to that in Ellerbe or further north. Norman got between 5 and 6 inches of snow, according to Mayor Kenneth Broadway.
Between the two towns, on Clayton Cariker Road, 3-year-old Charleston Grae Snead was able to build her first snowman.
“The first snow that we had, we pulled her behind a four-wheeler on a sled and she loved it,” said Charleston’s aunt, Casey Snead. “This time, we decided to build a snowman because the snow stuck together really well. She acts like the cold doesn’t even bother her!”
While Snead said she could qualify as a “snow person,” she’s “happy that what we get comes and goes kinda quickly.”
“I think that the snow brings out the kid in all of us!” she added.
Wednesday’s snow caused significantly more power outages than the snow two weeks ago, according to the area’s electricity providers.
After the snow on Jan. 3, Duke Energy and Pee Dee Electric reported very minimal impact on their customers’ service. Duke said at least one person had reported an outage but it was quickly addressed and Pee Dee said they had no reports of outages.
Wednesday was a different story.
Ashley Haynes, spokesperson for Pee Dee Electric, said the utility had about 34 reports of outages in Richmond County, though most of their outages were in neighboring Montgomery County. Duke had 57 reports of outages, according to spokesperson Meredith Archie. All have since been resolved.
“The snow that fell last time was extremely cold and was not as wet as the snow that fell (Wednesday),” Haynes said. “When it’s really heavy like that it can bring down trees that are weak (onto power lines). This snow was very different in terms of consistency.”
Sgt. Kevin Aldridge with the N.C. Highway Patrol said the county was “pretty fortunate” regarding wrecks due to snow. Though the north was hit the worst, there were no serious injuries, only minor vehicle damage. He said there were between eight and 10 snow-related wrecks in total in Richmond County from Tuesday night to Thursday morning.
“It was nothing compared to two weeks ago,” he said.
Broadway said there were not any major wrecks or infrastructure damage in Norman that he was aware of and that businesses were back up and running Thursday.
“It’s supposed to be warming up (Friday) and Saturday so hopefully we get over this before the next one comes up,” Broadway said.
The National Weather Service extended its Winter Weather Advisory until noon Friday due to the possiblity of black ice causing hazardous road conditions.
Andrew Barksdale with the N.C. Department of Transportation said that all the major highway in the county are clear of snow and ice as of Thursday afternoon, though motorists may see some icy spots in the early morning hours on Friday. The secondary roads out in the county remained partly covered in ice, Barksdale said, but NCDOT was expected to salt those roads Thursday night.
As of Thursday afternoon, NCDOT had laid 120 tons of salt on Richmond County roads, according to Barksdale.
“We anticipate having all secondary roads clear by (Friday) at lunch time,” he said.
Officials with Richmond County Schools decided to cancel classes on Thursday, but with conditions improving opted for a two-hour delay on Friday.
Although The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicted a warm, rainy winter, there could be more snow on the way.
On its website, the Almanac’s weather forecast predicted the first-week snow, but only showers for this week. Another round of rain, snow and cold temps is expected for the first week of February.
William R. Toler contributed to this story. Contact Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]