Wednesday’s storm had even some forecasters scratching their heads a bit at the amount of snow falling.
“Hopefully, the snow will end sooner rather than later,” said Pete Corrigan, forecaster for the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Virginia, late Wednesday morning.
As of that time, Corrigan was standing by the Weather Service’s “winter weather advisory” posted for Wednesday. Corrigan said the two to four inches of snow that had fallen before noon was “pretty close to the criteria for a winter weather advisory.”
“We issue by county,” said Corrigan, adding that for the more severe winter weather warning, “for a warning, you need five inches across half of the county. Some areas will have more, some will have less.”
“We’re fairly well on track. But a couple more inches and we will have exceeded the forecast,” said Corrigan, noting that “the system is continuing to produce snow.”
He further predicted that the snow would be ending as the back edge of the front continues moving east and pulling the precipitation with it.
Corrigan estimated there would be an inch or two more snow later Wednesday, which he said was not a large amount of moisture. “One-tenth of an inch of rain is an inch of snow.”
“It will slowly taper off,” said Corrigan, explaining that the snow might not be going anywhere soon because of the cold. ”The wind chill Wednesday night will get down to zero, with temperatures in the low teens. Tomorrow (Thursday) will only get up to around freezing.”
Mount Airy was not unique in getting slammed by the day’s storm.
By early afternoon, the National Weather Service said 6 inches had fallen in parts of Alamance County, while 4 had fallen in Chapel Hill, where the University of North Carolina canceled classes, according to the Associated Press. Several inches had also fallen in the mountains to the west. Forecasters said a swath of the central part of the state could get as many as 8 inches by the time the snow stops falling later in the day, the AP reported.
“This storm is moving a little slower than they had anticipated, but that means that the impacts on our state could be even greater,” Gov. Roy Cooper said at a news conference Wednesday.
Roadways across the state were treacherous, leading to warnings from the governor.
Acknowledging that some people in the central part of the state had gone to work before the heavy accumulation began, Cooper urged them to “go ahead and go home from work because it’s going to get a little nasty out there.”
He said that most of the state’s 115 school systems had canceled or delayed classes.
All area schools were among those who kept students home on Wednesday, and Mount Airy announced Wednesday afternoon the city school system would be closed on Thursday.
Surry County schools were closed for students and staff according to the system’s Facebook page. Mount Airy City Schools were closed for students with an optional teacher workday, according to the school system’s website. The exam schedule for Mount Airy High School will be posted at a later date.
There was no immediate word from Surry County on the status of classes for Thursday.
All day and evening classes were canceled for all campuses of Surry Community College, according to the college’s website.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.