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Major Rowan County roads passable, but snow keeps falling this morning

SALISBURY — Snow continued to fall in Salisbury and Rowan County this morning, as road crews worked steadily in trying to keep major arteries passable.

The winter’s first storm dumped 5 to 7 inches of snow on Rowan County, and those accumulations were rising a bit with the continued morning precipitation.

Bill Key, a maintenance engineer with the N.C. Department of Transportation in Rowan County, said crews concentrated on Interstate 85, primary roads and major secondary roads through the night.

“Our primaries are in pretty good shape,” Key said, as long as motorists used caution and drove sensibly.

After a lull in the snowfall early Friday evening, the storm settled in about 9 p.m. and continued on through the night. Crews from the DOT and city of Salisbury worked non-stop into the morning and planned to keep going this afternoon.

 

The attack plan on major roads included combinations of plowing, salt/brine and sand. Key described the snowfall as a “wet snow” that was good for plowing.

The DOT concentrates a lot of its early efforts toward achieving bare pavement on the primary roads, but that was made more difficult this morning with the continued snow.

Key and Craig Powers, assistant public utilities director for the city of Salisbury, were hoping for sunshine this afternoon to help with some melting on the roads. But the window for any thawing will be small.

Temperatures both tonight and Sunday night are supposed to drop into the single digits. Once the temperature drops too low, it’s difficult for plows to have any success in scraping roads, Key noted.

In Rowan County, the DOT has 24 trucks on the road, along with six contract trucks and nine contract motor graders.

Key, who has not slept since 7 a.m. Friday, said most of his crew members also have been working on around-the-clock shifts. He expected to have emergency crews available tonight to catch any trouble spots before the full force went back to road clearing Sunday, which is forecast to be sunny but cold.

Powers said his crews divide into seven different sections of Salisbury, including all neighborhoods. One of those teams concentrates on emergency routes.

“We’ve got everything we’ve got on them,” Powers said.

Powers expected to check back with his men about 3 or 4 p.m.. today to reassess things and determine how to proceed tonight and Sunday. Again, with the expected falling temperatures, making much headway on the streets tonight will be difficult.

“If it’s just ice, that changes up our approach a bit,” Powers said.

 

 

Steve Monday, a local weather forecaster who constantly updates his Rowan County Weather website and Facebook page, acknowledged Rowan County saw the 5 to 7 inches of snow accumulation that he and other forecasters were predicting.

“It’s been right in that target area,” Monday said.

At 7 a.m., Fire Station 3 in Salisbury, which is an official National Weather Service weather station, reported 4.8 inches of snow, which was similar to 5 inches of snow reported by Susan Waller near Catawba College.

That was before the additional snowfall throughout the morning.

The Fading D Farm north of Salisbury reported 7.5 inches of snow. Readers in both western and eastern parts of Rowan County reported at least 6 inches of snow. Monday said he had a report from Kannapolis of 7 inches.

Though it was still snowing Saturday morning, Monday was switching his focus to the frigid temperatures coming into the region.

Monday had forecast temperatures tonight as low as 9 degrees; and Sunday night, as low as 6.

“That’s probably going to go lower because of all this snow on the ground,” Monday said.

Monday said the last edge of snow should leave Rowan County by about noon.

“We’ll see the sun peek out, then we will get melting, but not a lot,” Monday said.

The high today was supposed to be only 29, according to the National Weather Service.

Monday said he took “catnaps here and there” overnight while tracking the winter’s first snow.

“For the most part, I was up all night,” he said.

 

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

 

 

 

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