Rowan County prepares for winter storm

Published 12:10 am Sunday, December 9, 2018

By Andie Foley

If you braved the store on Saturday, you may have seen some sections particularly hard-hit.

Ice melt and snow shovels were hot commodities. Candles were picked over, and soup, hot chocolate and other cold-weather dietary staples attracted shoppers in droves. Bread and milk, anyone?

Sparse shelves could also be found where sugar and vanilla were stocked, as folks apparently geared up for snow cream.

All represent efforts of the citizenry to prepare for Winter Storm Diego. Local officials have had eyes on the storm and preparations in progress all week, spreading brine and readying plows for an unknown level of precipitation.

Rowan County Weather forecaster Steve Monday kept watch on the storm as it moved overhead on Saturday. He said dew points and air temperatures remained too far apart for precipitation to reach the ground through most of the day Saturday.

Around 6 p.m. Saturday, the dew point sat at 26 degrees and temperature at 41 degrees.

“Until those two get really close together, whatever is falling above us is not going to make it to the ground,” he said.

This explained the dull, dreary sky but dry ground.

But Monday said the evaporating rainfall would cause “evaporational cooling,” meaning he still expected snow to fall to begin around 1 a.m. Sunday morning as the temperature and dew point fell in line.

He said the snowfall will continue and mix with different types of precipitation — rain, sleet and freezing rain — until 8 p.m. Sunday evening.

Sunday evening into Monday morning looks the same, with precipitation picking back up in the overnight hours and clearing out around 1-2 p.m. Monday.

Monday said he is forecasting four to nine inches of snow accumulation for the county. Areas east of Interstate 85 can expect less snow accumulations and west of I-85 can expect more.

Ice accumulations could be anywhere from one-tenth to one-quarter inch, he said, though this could be isolated to particular portions of the county depending on how warm air flows in the mix.