WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Quiet conditions early Thursday evening quickly gave way to one of the more bizarre local weather events in recent memory. For a brief 3 hour window late Thursday night, moderate-heavy snow blanketed parts of eastern NC.
"It's the type of situation that gives forecasters headaches," Chief Meteorologist Jerry Jackson said. "Computer models handle broad weather patterns fairly well. But sometimes, mesoscale (smaller-scale) weather phenomena are hard to detect. Thursday night, we had a situation in which rainfall fell as predicted. However, the intensity of the rain acted as an efficient cooling mechanism in some areas, dropping temperatures low enough to produce snow. Whenever the intensity waned, the snow changed back to rain. This type of small scale "shift" can quickly produce unexpected snow accumulations."
Some northern counties in the WWAY viewing area picked-up measurable snow, but overall totals were held in check by relatively warm ground temperatures and air temperatures slightly above freezing. The weak system had exited the coast by 3 a.m.
(photo taken around 11 p.m. Thursday near Wallace (Duplin County)