Local impact expected to be clearer by Thursday

The uncertainty continued Wednesday as area officials keep watch over a weekend forecast that could bring snow to Eastern North Carolina.

The late afternoon forecast had not changed much from the previous day, with no clear consensus from computer models on what impacts Onslow County may see.

“Some of the models show snow in Jacksonville and some indicate mainly rain,” said meteorologist Tom Lonka with the National Weather Service forecast office in Newport.

The forecast indicates snow or a wintry mix of precipitation across Eastern North Carolina, but there were still a number of factors to be worked out related to the track of low pressure and how close to the coast it comes.

Lonka said the track will affect how cold it gets and how much — or how little — snow, sleet and ice the area receives.

Lonka said more specific information should be available today as the weekend nears.

What has remained constant is the timing of the wintry conditions, which are expected to impact the area late Friday into Saturday.

The timing has raised discussions about the old saying that snow will follow on the heels of winter thunder.

An old wives’ tale or coincidence?

While the area saw a thunderstorm last week, weather forecasters don’t give the saying much credibility.

“It’s something that has been said for a long time, but it’s not rooted in science,” said NWS meteorologist David Glenn.

No snow followed winter thunder that occurred about the same time last year.

This time, the forecast is more favorable for snowfall in Eastern North Carolina though it wasn’t clear how much or exactly what track the weather system may follow.

The National Weather Service said the area should be prepared for winter precipitation, lingering cold with single digit wind chills and possibly some minor soundside flooding.

The best chance of snow remains around the Greenville area.

In Onslow County, the more inland areas around Richlands have the greater chance of some snow accumulations, beginning with rain and changing to snow. There is more uncertainty closer to the coast, with the track of the storm determining whether there will be snow or mainly rain.

Area officials continue to monitor the weather forecast for updates.

“At this time, the forecast for Friday night and into Saturday is uncertain,” said Onslow County Emergency Services Director Norman Bryson. “Onslow County Emergency Services will be closely monitoring all weather updates regarding the potential for snow or a wintry mix.  Right now it is too early to determine an exact impact on our area.”

Bryson said it is always recommended that families review their emergency kit and restock supplies.

Residents will want to winterize their homes, checking insulation, weather-stripping doors and windows and insulating pipes and allowing faucets to drip a little to help keep pipes from freezing during a cold weather event.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is also watching the forecast close to determine if roads will need to be treated in advance of any wintry precipitation.

NCDOT spokesman Steve Abbott said that if divisions make a decision to treat roads with brine crews will likely be out today doing so, treating major roadways, overpasses, bridges and other traditional slick spots.

Crews will also be adjusting schedules to be available to work as long as needed to get roads clear in the case of winter weather.

According to the NWS, very cold air will move in toward the end of the weather event, making icy roads likely Saturday night even for areas that receive less wintry precipitation. Both Sunday and Monday morning will have temperatures in the teens with wind chill in the single digits.