County braces for ice as snow buries roads

By Abbi Overfelt

February 12, 2014

LAURINBURG — While it’s unlikely that the snow and freezing rain that has pelted the county now for two days will be considered the storm of the century, it’s sure to cause problems for anyone considering leaving their home — and maybe even for those who stay put.

Meterologists are cautioning that the solid blanket of snow spread across the county Tuesday, paired with the more than 2 inches dumped on roads, sidewalks and trees by noon today, could lead to heavy limbs breaking and bending, potentially bringing down power lines along the way.

“It’s a complicated deal,” said Jonathan Blaes, meterologist with the National Weather Service’s Raleigh office. “By tomorrow morning, roads should be covered with an icy mess and trees should be covered with snow and ice. … It would not surprise me if the white of the snow is peppered with branches and limbs.”

No reports of power outages had come in by noon, but freezing rain had just begun to fall. Sleet had fallen earlier that morning.

“As we’ve already seen, it’s going to ebb and flow,” Blaes said, adding that bigger problems could be caused by an “encasement of ice and snow on top of sleet.”

Scotland County Schools are closed again Thursday, making the sixth snow day in less than a month. A make-up schedule has not been announced. St. Andrews University classes are cancelled for Thursday. Richmond Community College announced late Wednesday that they would be closed Thursday.

Scotland Memorial’s outpatient services and associated clinics will also remain closed Thursday. Clinics closed Tuesday afternoon and remained closed Wednesday. Emergency services will remain open.

Scotland County Courts will also be closed today, for the second day in a row. For the status of court cases, defendents are urged to call 910-266-4404.

At noon on today, The American Red Cross opened a storm shelter in the Scotland High School media center, though those taking refuge there have not been immune to the possibility of power outages.

“All its going to provide is a roof over their head and meals,” said Scotland County Emergency Services Director Roylin Hammond. “There’s a possibiltiy of losing electricity so it may not be warm — we encourage people to bring warm clothing and bedding if they plan to spend the night.”

Hammond noted that anyone with children utilizing the shelter should not forget supplies to accomodate their needs, such as medications, diapers, and baby food. The shelter is providing three “typical school meals” per day.

Due to road conditions and the possibility of heating loss at the high school as in the rest of the county, Hammond encouraged those able to do so to stay at home.

“If people feel like they don’t have an alternate source of heating or may be threatened by the weather we would encourage them to go to the shelter, but primarily we would encourage them to shelter in place,” he said.

Across the county today, folks were bundled up as they cleaned store shelves.

Mike Polston, store manager at Piggly Wiggly on Church Street, said store traffic had increased by “100 percent” since Tuesday’s snow started to fall.

“It’s always been like that,” said Polston, who has worked at the grocery store since it opened 24 years ago. “When that first flake hits the ground, they start piling in from every direction.”

Bread shelves were nearly bare this morning, and Polston said canned meats, dry goods and “believe it or not, frozen meats,” were flying off the shelves.

“I remember back in 1969 we had an ice storm that shut things down for a week or two,” he said. “Let’s hope this one will be different.”

Louise Moussa, a native of Laurinburg who has also lived in Buffalo, N.Y., was stocking up on food for her pets. When she was growing up in Scotland County, she said, the area’s response to snow is no different than it is today.

“You have to just accept that whatever happens, happens,” she said, “and it’s not the end of the world. In the end, it will go away.”