Friday was a rarity for schoolchildren in southeastern North Carolina. They got the day off — for snow.
“They get most of their days off for hurricanes,” said Ryan Ellis, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Morehead City, N.C.
It wasn’t exactly an avalanche: Morehead City, on the extreme southeast coast, recorded 0.2 inches, but that is perilously close to Philadelphia’s official 0.3 for the entire winter. Areas farther inland, such as New Bern, with 1.5 inches, got more.
To the north, Raleigh weighed in with 2.5 inches, which would be eight times Philadelphia’s seasonal total.
Philadelphia holds a narrow lead over Morehead City, but the prospects of catching Raleigh before the end of February are looking mighty slim. In fact, not even a stray snowflake has been reported this month. Not even a rumor or a computer hallucination is in sight.
Friday will be only the third day this month that daily temperatures will finish below normal in Philadelphia. The forecast calls for readings approaching 50 degrees Saturday and then creeping back into the 50s with rain possible Monday night through Thursday.
The government’s March outlook sees the odds favoring below-normal temperatures around here, but watch out North Carolina: It sees stronger odds for a colder-than-average month down that way.
If the snow Thursday night into early Friday turns out to have been an hors d’oeuvres, southeastern North Carolina digested it well, said Ellis.
“It was a low-impact event,” he said. The ground was so warm that the snow had trouble sticking.
Truth be told, he said, the schools could have opened. But the Rubicon was crossed; schools made their decisions on Wednesday.
Ellis’ colleague, South Jersey native Michael Lee, had said the region appeared to be divided about the snow: “Half the people are excited, and half are frustrated. Some people move here to get out of the snow.”
Ellis’s sentiments are with the latter half. He grew up in New York’s Hudson Valley.