Bladen County got its first wintry precipitation of the season yesterday, but it left many feeling that they got … well, snowed again.
The hype began in earnest in the early part of the week, when forecasters began calling for upwards of two inches of snow in Bladen County. Dubbed Winter Storm Grayson, the Arctic air that has brought frigid temperatures since last week, combined with a rare front bringing moisture from the southeast put the northern South Carolina and southern North Carolina in a unique position, according to forecasters, to receive accumulations of several inches of white stuff.
Anticipation continued to build throughout the week, as forecasters only upped their confidence, and Wednesday, the prediction for Bladen County showed it most likely to receive four inches of snow, with decreasing percentages on each side of the number. The Mother County, according to prognosticators, was just as likely to see six inches as two, but most probably would see four. The county prepared for wintry precipitation, expected to arrive late Wednesday afternoon.
What happened, however, was a different story. As Grayson moved across North Carolina, a hole formed in the middle of the storm, with Bladen County in the center. While snow was falling north, south, east, and west, residents of the Mother County were left peering out their dark and motionless windows, waiting.
They took to social media.
“The forecast literally says 100 percent, and I don’t see any snow,” said one frustrated Facebook user.
It finally began falling in Elizabethtown around 8:30 p.m., but Grayson didn’t stick around long. By 11 p.m., the only visage that remained of the promise was approximately one inch of snow.
That one inch was enough to bring things to a halt. Bladen County schools were cancelled Thursday, and Bladen County governmental offices are closed Thursday as well. The doors to numerous businesses and organizations remain locked Thursday.
While Grayson wasn’t quite the powerhouse in Bladen County he was predicted to be, he left a different mark on other places. Pinehurst received six inches; upwards of three inches blanket the ground in Sandford; and Moore County experienced a 10-mile long traffic jam due to the three inches that fell by 7:30 p.m.
Though the storm has moved on, it isn’t finished with the East Coast. Forecasters are warning the system can strengthen into a “bomb cyclone” and bring hurricane-force winds and up to a foot of snow to the north.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.