Rowan-Salisbury Schools closed; Kannapolis closed

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rowan-Salisbury Schools are closed today. Kannapolis City Schools are now closed for the day after initially planning a two-hour delay. 

Snowflakes continued mixing with the heavy rain over Rowan County.And the weather may have played a part in bringing down a large tree onto a home on Wilson Street in the Carver Community of Kannapolis. Firefighters arrived around 5 p.m. to find that a tree had been blown over, landing in the center of a single family home. Crews secured the area and confirmed that those in the home had escaped without injury, according to a release from the Kannapolis Fire Department. The American Red Cross arrived to coordinate temporary housing for the residents until a decision could be made on the fate of the house. Some events have already been cancelled, and so have some college classes, as rain is expected to turn to snow this evening. The National Weather Service says Rowan could get 4 inches of snow in fairly short order tonight and ice could form on roads by morning.

Here’s where colleges and public schools stood this afternoon:

• Livingstone College has cancelled classes this evening. No decision has yet been made about Friday classes, spokeswoman Laurie Willis said.

• Catawba College has cancelled classes this evening. Students enrolled in Catawba classes at Davidson County and Central Piedmont community colleges should check with their instructors on Blackboard about classes at those locations, spokeswoman Tonia Black-Gold said.

Catawba will open at 10 a.m. Friday. Classes that start before 10 a.m. have been cancelled, and the college is telling students, faculty and staff to “use best judgment in traveling to campus.”

• Rita Foil, spokeswoman for the Rowan-Salisbury School System, said all sports scheduled for today have been cancelled. Principals are deciding whether to cancel other events at their schools.

As for tomorrow, Foil said in an email that officials “are in the process of making plans in preparation that an announcement due to inclement weather becomes necessary.”

The system’s transportation director and staff will monitor road conditions today and early Friday and report to Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom, who will decide whether to cancel or delay school, Foil said. Friday is an early release day for students. Foil called that “an added piece of the puzzle that is being discussed,” but did not say if students would have to make up the day.

• Kannapolis City Schools officials will decide around 4:30 a.m. whether there’s a need to cancel or delay Friday classes. If school is cancelled, students would make up the day next Tuesday, district spokeswoman Ellen Boyd said.

• A Rowan-Cabarrus Community College spokeswoman told the post officials there would decide at 3 p.m. today whether to cancel evening classes and later whether to cancel Friday classes. That information has not yet been released and the Post has been unable to reach the spokeswoman by telephone.

Rowan County could see up to 4 inches of snow accumulate quickly this evening as a winter storm moves through the area, a National Weather Service meteorologist says.

The storm, which is expected to dump up to 8 inches of snow on the North Carolina mountains, could also leave treacherous conditions for local drivers Friday morning.

The rain that’s been falling since Wednesday will continue through the daylight hours today, said Larry Gabric, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Greenville, S.C. Temperatures were expected to top out near 50 degrees.

But once the mercury starts to drop, the weather will change. Snow will start to fall between 7 and 8 this evening, Gabric said.

“Once that changeover occurs, it looks like you’re going to get a quick 2 to 3 inches of snow, and maybe as high as 4 in some areas,” he said.

The snow should end by midnight, Gabric said, but the forecast says it could briefly change to freezing rain. After that, overnight temperatures in the 20s will bring a new problem Friday morning in the form of ice on roads and sidewalks. “Black ice” — patches of ice that are difficult to see on asphalt roads — will be a concern for drivers, he said.

N.C. Department of Transportation crews in Rowan and elsewhere have outfitted their trucks with plows and spreaders and stockpiled salt and sand to be ready as soon as the storm hits, an agency spokeswoman said. The crews have been sent home for the day but are returning at 4 p.m. to prepare for potential snow and ice.

Strong gusts are also expected this afternoon, potentially downing limbs and trees.

The N.C. Assocation of Electric Cooperatives issued a statement this morning saying its member agencies are standing by to restore power knocked out by the storm.

The U.S. Postal Service says the weather could cause delivery delays and is asking customers to help by clearing snow and ice from around curbside mailboxes and on walkways, steps and overhangs if their boxes are at the at their houses. Letter carriers are told to hold mail at addresses where ice and snow are not cleared.

Friday’s highs are forecast to be in the mid-40s and most of the snow and ice should be gone by the afternoon, Gabric said.