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Published Tue, Jan 22, 2013 08:00 PM
Modified Sun, Jan 27, 2013 12:37 AM

The snow that wasn’t

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- ajames@newsobserver.com

CLAYTON -- Not even schoolchildren’s prayers were enough to bring snow to the area overnight Thursday.

Forecasters had predicted up to an inch of snow in Johnston County starting Thursday night, but the timing of cold air and moisture did not align to produce any snow.

“We had plenty of moisture in place and we got rain in the evening hours and were just waiting on cold air to move in,” said meteorologist Barrett Smith, of the National Weather Service in Raleigh. “By the time cold air was able to spread across the piedmont and reach Johnston County, the storm was starting to depart and moisture was going away.” Smith said it is often the case that when areas near the Triad part of the state get flakes that stick, Johnston County will not see snow because the air cools off fastest near the Triad.

“As the cold air comes in behind the storm system it’s a little too late for accumulation,” Smith said.

Johnston County schools were all on a regular schedule Friday, with the exception of West Smithfield Elementary and South Smithfield Elementary. Both schools operated on a two-hour delayed schedule. Staff at traditional calendar schools had a workday as originally scheduled.

The uncertainty of the weather didn’t stop the town from being prepared.

Clayton’s public works director Tim Simpson said crews spent part of the day Thursday preparing for snow and ice removal. Clayton’s snow-removal system is set up so that most of the equipment is capable of sliding into the back of large pick up trucks. Crews mounted one truck with a plow, and there were two other large trucks and a pick-up that could have been mounted with plows, if needed. Workers got snow blades ready in case they were needed to remove snow.

The town did not plan to apply brine to the streets ahead of the storm because the rain the rain before the snowstorm would have washed it away.

Town Manager Steve Biggs said there have been delays in the past in opening Town Hall when there was a snowstorm, but it has never closed during a storm, so workers there were prepared to come in despite any inclement weather.

Towns east of Johnston County in the Triangle did receive some snow, including Orange County which received an inch, according to the National Weather Service. Schools in Orange County were cancelled on Friday.

Meanwhile, residents of Clayton were abuzz on Facebook on Friday asking, “What snow?”

James: 919-553-7234

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