The calm after the storm rolled into eastern North Carolina as most offices shut down after a winter storm brought nearly five inches of snow to the region.
Craven County received the most snow at 4.75 inches, according to National Weather Service reports, followed closely by Onslow with 4.5 inches recorded near Piney Green Road; Lenoir with 3.5 inches; Pamlico with three inches; Duplin with two inches; and Carteret County enjoyed between 1.5 and two inches, according to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS.
But for those blanketed with it, it was an essential-hands-only on deck situation.
Jacksonville Assistant City Manager Glenn Hargett said only essential employees, like first responders, water plant and treatment workers, were on duty Thursday.
“There’s a number of functions that (still) take place,” Hargett said. “Lots of others are out there to keep the city running.”
He was unsure if Friday would mean a return to business as usual or not, and like other municipalities is facing days of weather below freezing. Anything beginning to melt during the day was expected to refreeze Thursday night.
“We intend to try and be open at city hall when it’s safe to do so,” Hargett said.
New Bern residents were in a similar situation, with most operations shutdown save the Public Works Department plowing roads and emergency services.
“It’s cold with a good five inches of snow,” said Matt Montanye, director of New Bern Public Works.
Montanye said the plows planned to work in 12-hour shifts until the snow was totally cleared up. Like Hargett, officials in New Bern were waiting to see what overnight Thursday would bring before making a decision on Friday’s work schedule. Montanye said the city manager would make a decision on whether to re-open.
Crews all over ENC were plowing through the snow to get back to safe travels, including in Kinston, according to Director of Public Works Rhonda Barwick.
Kinston City Hall was closed Thursday and was scheduled to operate on a two-hour delay Friday, Barwick said, but for immediate information staff is still available through the 24-hour customer service center by calling 252-939-3282.
David Stocks, electric systems superintendent in Kinston, said no power outages were reported Thursday.
"It's been good and quiet," Stocks said.
No outages are anticipated as conditions freeze over Thursday evening, he added.
"I don't see us having any outages, unless it's a vehicle accident," Stock said.
Garbage trucks did not run Thursday, but Barwick said the routes would try again Friday.
“We have plans to get out there, weather permitting,” Barwick said.
But for those driving personal vehicles, Barwick stressed caution on the roadways with ice under the show, and the N.C. Department of Transportation had a similar message.
“We are still in a winter weather event, the storm has passed but the event continues,” said NCDOT Communications Officer Brian Rick.
Crews from NCDOT were out as early as 6 a.m. Thursday to clear the snow covering the region and their next step was to treat the ice with road salt, a special mixture that draws moisture from the ice to melt it.
“This is not the kind of salt you’d want to put on your food,” Rick joked.
During the storm, Rick said reduced visibility puts a limit on how much work can be done, and it’s better to plow once the snow has stopped falling. By then, much of the work done is focused on making the roads a little safer once ice has hit.
“Ice is more treacherous than the snow,” Rick said.
Spots to watch out for are intersections where conditions may make it really difficult for cars to stop on time, and exit ramps which are prone to ice.
“There’s not a definite ending until we see a warming trend,” Rick said. “That’s when nature does the ultimate task of bringing us to some level of normalcy.”
Unfortunately for ENC, normalcy is not likely to return until Monday.
“That’s the bottom line, you want to be especially careful,” Rick said.
Reporter Kelsey Stiglitz can be reached at kstiglitz@JDNews.com or 910-219-8453.