Snow a rare event of late

Erin Smith Staff writer

January 26, 2014

ELIZABETHTOWN — Whether it’s a prediction of flurries, a dusting or an official accumulation, folks in the area remain vigilant when cold weather sweeps through the region. And Bladen County has seen its fair share of arctic cold over the past couple of weeks, with more on the way this week.

But it’s been quite some time since the area saw anything associated with snow, and that has actually generated a potential cost savings for the taxpayers.

N.C. Department of Transportation District Engineer Drew Cox said, “Depending on the event, there are a lot of different ways to address it.”

In the case of last week’s forecasted snow, Cox said that DOT did treat the bridges over the Cape Fear River with a salt brine solution at a cost of about $300.

“Salt brine is a pre-treatment and it won’t help you if you have ice,” said Cox.

He said that in last week’s event, DOT waited for the rain to end and the wind actually dried everything off a good bit before they treated the bridges on the Cape Fear River.

Cox emphasized that the solution won’t help you if you have a thick coating of snow or ice. For that he said DOT has to use and work it from the top layer down to the asphalt.

Elizabethtown Town Manager Eddie Madden said that the town does not have scrape blades, salt brine and such.

“Our guys will likely put out salt on sidewalks. We are not set up for snow or ice removal,” said Madden.

Madden said that snow events requiring scraping and/or treatment of the roads occur so infrequently that it is not feasible to invest in salt brine, or scrape blades. He said when such events do occur, town staff reaches out to NCDOT for assistance.

In terms of the forecast continued frigid temperatures, Madden said that the town’s major infrastructure such as water and sewer lines and pumps are all in working order and shouldn’t be affected by the below freezing temperatures.

“We are checking our generators so if an outage occurs we’ll be ready,” said Madden.


Past snow events


The last real major snow event in Bladen County occurred in 2009, when the county received up to 4 inches of snow in some locations.

Bladen County, for the most part, has been spared from having to deal with major blizzards. Over the past 25 years, the county has dealt with about eight major snow events. As a matter of fact, according the Bladen Journal’s archives, in the year 2000, the county received significant snowfall twice — in January 2000 and again in late December 2000.

The county has actually experienced a White Christmas twice — once in 1989 when the county received between 8 and 10 inches, and again in 1993 when the county received about 4 inches in some locations.


Weather outlook


Monday’s high of 60 degrees is supposed to take a major tumble to a high of just 34 degrees on Tuesday.

Overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday is expected to see a low of 22 degrees with only a 10 percent chance of precipitation, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

Wednesday is expected to bring a high of 32 degrees with a 50 percent chance of some snow in Bladen County.

Overnight between Wednesday and Thursday will be 15 degrees with a high 0f 37 on Thursday. From there, things will begin to warm up through the weekend.