Winter storm finally arrives in Caldwell
You couldn't tell from the grumbling late Wednesday morning whether some folks were happy or angry that no snow had fallen in Caldwell County except the mountains.
Forecasters had said on Monday that some snow could start falling here as early as Monday night, so Wednesday was the third straight morning of snow predictions.
But finally it came at the lunch hour -- leaving only the question of how much snow may be on the ground Thursday morning.
But local officials were taking the forecasters at their word -- the National Weather Service said up to a foot or so may fall before the snow ends -- and decided to close Caldwell County Schools and local government offices Thursday. Lenoir's community meeting that was scheduled for 6 p.m. at New Life Baptist Church is canceled.
Forecasters called this a serious winter storm that would cover much of the state in snow, sleet and ice. A winter storm warning is in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday. The Charlotte area was expected to get the most snow, close to a foot. Only an inch or so of accumulation is expected in the eastern part of the state, but much of that could be ice.
Authorities said a woman died Wednesday in a weather-related traffic accident in Moore County when a car in which she was a passenger struck a tree. A State Highway Patrol trooper was sent to the hospital after his parked cruiser was struck by another car.
In Caldwell County there were a number of minor wrecks as the roads began to get slick, including at least two in which a car overturned, but no serious injuries were reported.
Traffic on highways in Charlotte and Raleigh ground to a crawl Wednesday afternoon, but no major traffic problems aside from minor wrecks were reported elsewhere.
Gov. Pat McCrory signed orders in advance of the storm declaring an emergency, freeing state resources to react.
McCrory also urged people to stay off the roads.
"Stay smart. Don't put your stupid hat on at this point in time. Protect yourself. Protect your family. Protect your neighbors," McCrory said.