Jennifer Turnage, general manager of the Pizza Hut on Sunset Avenue, spreads sand in the restaurant's parking lot Monday in an effort to make it safer for customers. She said the restaurant will be open normal business hours on Tuesday.
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Telegram photo / Alan Campbell

Jennifer Turnage, general manager of the Pizza Hut on Sunset Avenue, spreads sand in the restaurant's parking lot Monday in an effort to make it safer for customers. She said the restaurant will be open normal business hours on Tuesday.

Record snowfall slows traffic

By Brie Handgraaf

1 Comment | Leave a Comment

A lack of official records has made declaring Sunday’s storm as “record-setting” a difficult task, but reports indicate it likely did break recent records.

Meteorologist Katie Roussy with the National Weather Service in Raleigh said Nash County received 13 inches of snow; Edgecombe County reported 12.5 inches. The most snow-packed storm in recent history was a January 2000 blizzard, which left 10 inches of snow in Nash County and 8 inches of snow in Edgecombe County.

“I think that goes to show this type of storm doesn’t happen very often,” Roussy said.

She said Raleigh-Durham International Airport received 7.1 inches, which did not set a record for totals, but did for accumulation on Dec. 26.

“Generally, Raleigh was in the 6- to 9-inch range, and as you traveled further east, the amounts got higher,” she said. “(Rocky Mount) is in the area where the highest amounts in Central North Carolina were reported.”

The heavy snow accumulation had

Public Works crews out working to clear major roadways around 8 a.m. Sunday.

“Typically, we wait until the snow stops to start plowing, but because of the duration of the event, we felt like we had to get what we could off of the roads,” said Public Works Assistant Director Blair Hinkle. “I think we made the right decision to get the plows out as early as we did.”

Hinkle said nine trucks were out beginning at 8 a.m. with several more trucks hitting the roads by noon. All primary routes were plowed before crews called it a day around 2 a.m. Monday. Hinkle said crews had to treat a few primary routes again Monday morning and also cleared all major secondary routes.

“We are getting to the residential areas as quickly as we can, but it was important that we opened up the main routes first,” he said. “Our first priority in these events is to make sure fire trucks can get out of their stations, down the main roads and to the hospital. We accomplished those goals fairly quickly and have been working on other roads since.”

Hinkle said crews will continue to treat roads for the next few days.

“The snow that is piled up on the sides will melt some Monday and run across the surface, but it will refreeze overnight,” he said. “We are using the sand and salt to combat areas that typically get slick — like the George Street bridge — so if they freeze, they will have some traction, then we will be back out (today) with trucks running spreading more sand and salt.”

The N.C. State Highway Patrol responded to 2,385 calls across the state Sunday, with 46 occurring in the Twin Counties.

“We know many people are traveling for the holidays, and we want everyone to be extremely cautious,” said state Emergency Management Director Doug Hoell. “Anyone who is thinking of driving during the next few days should pay careful attention to the weather and traffic forecasts before heading out.”

Roussy said Rocky Mount should have highs in the mid-40s Wednesday, with temperatures increasing throughout the week to the 60s Saturday.

Public Utilities Director Rich Worsinger said the storm was not overly problematic for utility customers.

“We received about three dozen calls Sunday, but the majority were for a limb on a line or a low hanging line. There was no more than 50 people without power at any one time,” he said. “The employees were out there in the cold weather and snow working to help the citizens of Rocky Mount, and I think they did a fantastic job.”

For updated road conditions, motorists should call 511 or visit Travelers are asked not to call 911 or Highway Patrol for road conditions. To report a problem on the highway, call *HP from a cell phone.


Snow Removal

First I must say that the snow removal during this event was much better than usual, partly I think because of the pre treatment with the salt brine. I must say that there were neighborhoods that a plow never was used and the streets in those areas are still not in good shape. As for the practice of not beginning to plow until the snow has stopped, is a very flawed way of doing snow removal. Having lived a lot of years in a snowy area; the best practice is to plow with the snow as it comes down. This keeps the roads much clearer and safer though the event. Another reason to do this is to keep the packed snow from people traveling in the snow from creating ruts and ice buildup that the plows are not able to move once it has frozen to the road surface. Just a suggestion, but I do know that it works very well.

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