ONLINE UPDATE: Winter storm Leon brings snow, ice to Wrightsville Beach

by Staff reports
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Update Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2:15 p.m.

Mark Bacon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Wilmington office said roads will likely remain icy until Friday, with temperatures expected to stay in the 30s Thursday.

“We will start to get above freezing tomorrow, but I don’t think we’ll get far enough above for the ice to start really melting off the roads,” Bacon said. “We’re discouraging unnecessary travel, although of course people may still have to go to work. Leave early, drive slow, and allow extra time to get where you’re going. Often a little common sense goes a long way.”

Temperatures will remain below freezing Wednesday, but by Friday Bacon said they will reach the 50s and likely melt away most of the ice.

Update Wednesday, Jan. 29, 1:02 p.m.

New Hanover County Schools will remain closed Thursday, Jan. 30 due to continued hazardous road conditions.

NHCS Chief Communications Officer Valita Quattlebaum said the district made the decision at about 12:30 p.m., and will continue to monitor conditions tomorrow as they weigh a Friday school closing.

"There is an ice sheet over the roads, and until the ice can melt or they can do something to clear the roads we don’t want to put the kids in jeopardy, or the school staff," Quattlebaum said.

Update Wednesday, Jan. 29, 11:50 a.m.

The winter storm warning for inland and coastal New Hanover County has been canceled by the National Weather Service office in Wilmington.

Update Wednesday, Jan. 29, 8:30 a.m.

Winter storm Leon brought snow and ice to Wrightsville Beach and New Hanover County beginning Tuesday, Jan. 28.

Snow is expected to become the dominant weather by daybreak, according to reports from the National Weather Service office in Wilmington. 

Total snow and sleet accumulations are expected to total 1 to 3 inches, with the lowest amounts closer to the coast.

Temperatures are expected to remain in the teens, below the freezing mark for the remainder of Wednesday, Jan. 29. 

As of 6:46 a.m., the winter storm was expected to last through predawn hours. The winter storm warning remains in effect until 6 p.m.

A slight moderation of temperatures are expected by Friday, warming throughout the weekend with a cold front projected for Sunday night into Monday.

Update Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2:45 p.m.

New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington have declared a State of Emergency. The county's State of Emergency took effect at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 28. 

During a 2:30 p.m. conference call Steve Pfaff, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, said the winter storm expected to drop freezing rain and snow on Southeastern North Carolina is still on schedule although there have been no major precipitation events yet.

“Keep in mind the briefings we had were developing the more intense conditions late into afternoon and into tonight,” Pfaff said. “If you look at the recent radar trends you finally start to see a larger outbreak of precipitation across South Carolina that is coming this way.”

In a change from the earlier forecast Pfaff said the snowfall amounts for coastal North Carolina have decreased to a total projected accumulation of 1-2 inches. However, the decrease in snowfall is due to the increased amount of freezing rain projected for coastal areas.

Pfaff said the peak ground and roadway icing times for coastal areas would occur from late afternoon Tuesday into Wednesday morning. The areas where snow will cover the freezing rain will be particularly dangerous, Pfaff said.

Significant power outages are still anticipated for southeastern North Carolina and will be more prevalent in the areas hit hardest by either snow or freezing rain.

For Wednesday Pfaff said the snowfall in coastal counties would continue until around noon.

Black ice will become an issue into Thursday morning with the slight melting and refreezing that will occur.

Southeastern N.C. is under a winter storm warning until Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 6 p.m.

Blustery northerly winds from 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph are expected.

Closings

Wrightsville Beach School is closed on Tuesday, Jan. 28, Wednesday, Jan. 29 and Thursday, Jan. 30, along with all other New Hanover County Schools. The Town of Wrightsville Beach will be closed from noon to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28, and on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

This story will be updated as weather conditions and predictions change.

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