Even Outer Banks can't escape Eastern U.S. cold snap
Up to 10 inches of snow expected
The Associated Press, Jan. 23, 2003
NAGS HEAD, N.C., Jan. 23 — A rare snowstorm hit the Outer Banks Thursday and was expected to drop as much as 10 inches — the first significant snowfall for the North Carolina coast in 13 years.
Dare County, which includes most of the Outer Banks, closed schools and suspended trash collection until Monday after the first 3 inches fell, and the state was sending in snow plows because the county doesn't have any of its own.
Ace Hardware in Nags Head had about 50 shoppers stocking up on storm
''We've sold all the snow shovels we had, which was about five,'' said manager Renee Thompson, adding that the shovels are usually used for sand, not snow.
The frigid air, which has been hurtling in from Canada for more than a week, froze most of the country east of the Rocky Mountains, and schools were closed in several states.
Minneapolis and Fargo, N.D., weren't expected to reach zero degrees Thursday, and temperatures were forecast to remain below freezing even as far south as Atlanta. Wind chill warnings and advisories were issued for more than two dozen states.
The Outer Banks are usually immune to such chills because it is insulated by
relatively warm water, said Roy Pringle, a meteorologist with the National
Weather Service in Morehead City. But this storm was expected to bring winds of
up to 30 mph, resulting in near blizzard conditions at times at the coast,
The area's last snowfall of any consequence came on Christmas 1989.
The snow arrived with bitterly cold temperatures statewide, with highs forecast for the teens and 20s Thursday. Schools were closed across the state and the commute for workers was slowed and, in some cases, delayed. Icy conditions forced police to close the I-277 loop around downtown Charlotte.
Families scavenged for sleds but, finding few in stores, they had to improvise. ''In Wanchese, the kids slide on fish boxes that have wax on the bottom of them,'' said John LaCount, photo manager at the Kmart in Kill Devil Hills.
In South Carolina, 9 inches of snow fell in Clover, near the North Carolina line. The forecast there meant more work for Oliver Ellis, who sells firewood in Greenville, S.C. ''It started in November when we got the ice, and it will keep going into March,'' Ellis said.
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