Winter’s grip refuses to wain

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 16, 2004

Mother Nature will just not let go of her icy winter grip on northeastern North Carolina.

In perhaps one of the coldest winters in recent memory, more ice and snow is in the short-term forecast for the Roanoke-Chowan region as well as southside Virginia. In addition to the cold, recent rains will cause minor flooding along the Roanoke River in Bertie and Martin counties.

Despite a sun-filled sky on Monday, the meltdown from Sunday night’s and Monday morning’s snowfall will not be completed in time for the next round of winter weather, expected to begin last night and last through today.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Wakefield, Va. (one that covers eastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina), a low pressure system is expected to develop near the southeast coastal states early Tuesday morning. The front will track northeastward and is expected to be off the Virginia capes on Wednesday morning.

If the Canadian air mass, which arrived on Sunday, remains as cold as expected, NWS meteorologists are predicting the moisture associated with the low pressure system to be in the form of snow or mixed precipitation. That precipitation shield is expected to cover the entire region on Tuesday, including the interior counties of the northern coastal plain of North Carolina.

As of Monday morning, NWS officials were predicting light accumulations in the R-C area, but the track of the storm may change that scenario. The NWS is expecting heavier amounts of snow west of our region.

Today’s high is expected in the mid-to-upper upper 30’s and a low in the upper 20’s. As warmer air filters in from the coast, the precipitation may turn into a mixture of snow and rain, possibly sleet, later today. However, as the temperature drops overnight, the moisture shield could turn back into all snow and continue into Wednesday morning when colder air returns on the back side of the low pressure system.

Highs on Wednesday are expected in the 40’s. A gradual warm-up will follow on Thursday and Friday where the highs are expected in the mid 50’s under partly cloudy skies.

A Gale Warning is in effect along the Albemarle Sound where winds, howling from the north, northeast, will blow from 15-to-20 knots, as high as 30 knots on Wednesday. Waves are expected in the one-to-two foot range today, increasing to two-to-three feet on Wednesday.

Minor lowland flooding is expected along the Roanoke River. The river measured 10.2 feet at Williamston on Sunday and is expected to rise to a maximum of 10.5 feet by early Wednesday morning. That latter measurement is one-half foot above flood stage.