Caldwell gets more snow than expected

Jan. 29, 2014 @ 04:09 PM

Snow came earlier and deeper than anyone expected, and so today the Caldwell County Schools are closed, as is Wraparound, the district’s before- and after-school childcare program. Teachers have an optional workday.

The forecast called for snow after 1 p.m. in Caldwell County on Tuesday, but flurries started by mid-morning in some areas.

By lunchtime the roads were turning white, and the first reports of fender benders began to come in to law enforcement agencies, including an accident involving two cars and a gravel truck in the Oak Hill area about 1 p.m. None of the drivers were reported to be seriously injured.

In the Lenoir area, a Ford Ranger pickup skidded off Morganton Boulevard and hit a utility pole in front of Bernhardt Furniture Plant 6 about 12:30 p.m. The accident knocked a live electric line to the ground, but the driver was not reported to be seriously hurt. Shortly before that accident, a Chevrolet Blazer SUV overturned and rolled into a ditch on Virginia Street. That driver also was not reported to be seriously injured.

The Caldwell County Schools initially made the call to close schools two hours early, which would have students leaving at 12:30 or 1 p.m., depending on their school’s schedule. But when the flakes made their early appearance, school officials decided to push dismissal up — elementary and middle school buses, along with high-school student drivers, left at 11:30 a.m. High-school buses left at 11:45 a.m.

“You look at the forecast, it was not supposed to hit until afternoon, and it came in early,” said Jeff Church, the district’s associate superintendent for auxiliary services. “We just want our folks to be safe on their way home.”

Caldwell County government offices closed at 1 p.m., and the courts closed at 3 p.m.

The forecast for Tuesday night called for more cold weather and a 50 percent chance of more snow, with the chance of 1 to 3 inches sticking to the ground by this morning, a drastic change from how the forecast looked Monday afternoon, when the accumulation was predicted to be a half inch or less.

Today’s forecast is comparatively warmer, with highs in the low 30s and sunny weather expected, with no more snow in the forecast.