Thawing process begins

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 26, 2004

Hang on – meteorological relief is on its way.

On the heels of Sunday’s blast of winter weather – a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain that lingered into Monday – officials with the National Weather Service Office in Wakefield, Va. are promising a much needed thawing process.

A double-barreled low pressure – one off the North Carolina coast and the other in the Ohio Valley – coupled with an Artic high pressure parked off New England teamed to push cold air down the Eastern Seaboard while pulling-up moisture from the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. The result was snow for most of the day on Sunday. As the air began to warm in the upper atmosphere, the precipitation changed over to sleet and then freezing rain.

Weather Service officials are reporting that a high pressure system will build in from the lower Mississippi River valley, bringing an increase in temperatures by tomorrow where the high is expected in the upper 40’s under partly sunny skies. Winds, blowing out of the west, will be brisk, predicted at 15-to-25 mph.

The extended forecast calls for partly sunny skies on both Thursday and Friday. Thursday’s high is expected in the mid 40’s, warming to the mid 50’s by Friday. Overnight lows during the same period will be in the mid to upper 30’s.

Sunday’s mixed bag of weather caused a few minor motor vehicle accidents throughout the region. Most were attributed to motorists losing control on the slick roadways. The North Carolina Highway Patrol office in Ahoskie reported 38 calls on Sunday alone. Just a few of those accidents reported any injuries.

&uot;It’s just not worth being injured to be on the roads when they are in this condition,&uot; said Highway Patrol Sgt. B.J. Jones. &uot;You just can’t drive on ice and it makes no difference if you’re operating a two or four-wheel drive vehicle. The best thing to do when the roads deteriorate due to winter weather is just stay at home and wait for things to thaw out.&uot;

There was one, non weather-related fatality on Friday night in Bertie County. Details of that accident will appear in Thursday’s edition.

Dominion North Carolina Power and Roanoke Electric Cooperative reported spotty power outages due to the storm. One occurred near Winton on Sunday night where insulators on power lines caught fire just outside of town. Winton was without power for approximately two hours. Emergency services went uninterrupted as they went to a back-up generator.