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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News Local Mild Temperatures Follow Last Week's Winter Ice Storm

Mild Temperatures Follow Last Week's Winter Ice Storm

Southeastern North Carolina endured a winter ice storm last week that blew in on Tuesday January 28th and continued through mid-morning  the following day. New Hanover County experienced primarily freezing rain and sleet with some snow early Wednesday morning. Ice remained on streets and sidewalks through Friday morning.

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

Click here to view a Pictorial Report: Frozen Pleasure Island January 29th, 2014

NEW HANOVER CTY - New Hanover County and much of southeastern North Carolina witnessed a rare winter storm last week that brought mostly freezing rain and sleet.
On Tuesday January 28th, temperatures dropped from the previous days mild digits and by lunchtime rain transitioned to a light freezing rain. By 5PM that day area streets were covered in a layer of ice that looked like snow, but was extremely slick causing poor driving conditions.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation had previously treated state roads with a salt solution. On Pleasure Island that included Lake Park Blvd, Fort Fisher Blvd, Dow Road and Ocean Blvd as well as Snow's Cut Bridge. 
Conditions on treated roads were a stark contrast to untreated side streets where ice formed as much as an inch or more in some areas. Early Wednesday morning the sleet turned to snow for a brief time gradually ending by mid-morning.
Many businesses in Carolina Beach remained open Tuesday and Wednesday. Government offices, New Hanover County Schools, Cape Fear Community College and the University of North Carolina Wilmington all canceled classes through Friday due to continuing poor travel conditions.
Wednesday morning people began venturing out to enjoy the rare sight of ice and snow on the beachfront. Several people took advantage of the ice and used boogie boards to slide across the ice at the Kure Beach Oceanfront Park. The hills at Fort Fisher provided an excellent chance for kids to ride their sleds, boogie boards and even surf boards on the ice.
Restaurants opened and many people continued on business as usual. Several people reported frozen pipes and a couple of water fountains at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk appeared to be impacted by the cold weather.
The storm brought 1" of snow and sleet (1.63" of precipitation overall including rain) to the New Hanover County area with temperatures dipping to around 20 degrees fahrenheit on Wednesday with wind-chill in the teens due to Northwest winds up to 30mph.
The Weather Channel called it "Winter Storm Leon". According to the National Weather Service, the Arctic front moved into the region late Monday, bringing very cold temperatures. The front caused by warm air colliding with arctic air dipping down from Canada stalled offshore Tuesday and Wednesday. A low-pressure system developed along the front and moved along the coast, bringing an extended period of snow and sleet to much of the state.
The forecast for Wednesday February 5th is 73 degrees.