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Pretty but not for long

By Kathy Chaffin

Salisbury Post

Thursday’s winter storm arrived early and left quickly.

Rowan County children who slept late may have missed out on playing in the snow as it began melting when the wintry mix turned into rain by late morning. Snow accumulation was less than 2 inches around the county.

Larry Gabric, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Greenville-Spartanburg, said snow accumulation ranged from a half-inch across the northern part of the county to 11/2 inches in the southern end.

“That was about 3 inches less than what we were looking at yesterday for a storm total,” he said. “The main reason you didn’t get quite as much snow as first anticipated is that a band of deeper moisture didn’t make it quite as far north as we had forecast.

“You missed it by about 30, 40 miles.”

Accumulations in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina counties south of Rowan were more significant.

Union County, for example, received 4 to 6 inches of snow, Gabric said, while the southern part of Mecklenburg received 3 to 6 inches.

The wintry mix of snow and sleet reached as far south as Mississippi.

With a freezing rain advisory in effect for Rowan County Thursday night, Rowan-Salisbury School System officials decided early to delay this morning’s school openings by two hours for students and one hour for staff.

Students will make up the school day they lost Thursday on Feb. 19, a Monday when students were scheduled to be out for Presidents’ Day.

Gabric said he didn’t expect a lot of freezing in Rowan Thursday night because low temperatures were predicted to hover right around 32 degrees. Any ice would probably be limited to elevated surfaces such as trees and power lines, he said.

“But we still can’t rule out some slippery roads,” Gabric said, “especially on bridges and overpasses.”

The rain was forecast to move out of the area late Thursday night.

Early this morning “and the rest of the weekend looks like it will be dry and cool with temperatures a little below seasonal levels for the next week or so,” he said. “It’s going to be very chilly, with temperatures not getting out of the 30s next Tuesday and Wednesday, so it’s going to feel like winter.”

Gabric said there are no major winter storms on the horizon at this point.

Despite some slick spots, main roads remained in pretty good shape in Rowan County Thursday. Only a few minor accidents were reported throughout the day.

Statewide, officials blamed at least one death on the icy roads. A man driving a Dodge Neon near Mount Airy slid on a slick roadway in front of a tractor-trailer and died in the collision, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

More than 2,000 homes and businesses lost power in western North Carolina, and flights were canceled in the Carolinas.

Rowan events cancelled Thursday and rescheduled for other times include the following:

* The Rowan Public Library Quiz Bowl was rescheduled for Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Rowan County Agricultural Center on Old Concord Road.

* Thursday night’s performance of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by the Piedmont Players has been rescheduled for Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Any ticket holders who cannot attend at that time may call the Meroney Theater box office at 704-633-5471 and reschedule their tickets for either tonight or Saturday night.

The people who had purchased the dinner/theater package offered by Piedmont Players and Pinocchio’s in Spencer may call the restaurant at 704-797-0777 to reschedule reservations.

Trailing storm

Meanwhile, Oklahoma grappled with a second, trailing storm that kept roads slick and dangerous.

“We made it through rush hour this morning pretty good, but the roads are getting pretty tricky,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Chris West said. The Weather Service issued a snow advisory for 41 Oklahoma counties from Thursday evening until noon today.

The storm dropped snow and freezing drizzle on the area, causing dozens of accidents and four deaths in Oklahoma. The deaths included an emergency medical technician who died Thursday, hours after the ambulance she was riding in ran off the road.

A fifth woman died Wednesday in Arkansas when her vehicle slid across a highway median and collided with a tractor-trailer.

The pair of storms followed a three-day storm that hit Oklahoma beginning Jan. 12, causing 32 deaths and leaving more than 120,000 homes and businesses without power across eastern Oklahoma.

The Associated Press contributed to this article. Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-4249 or kchaffin@salisburypost.com.

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