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Bladen County preps for second winter blast

Snowman built Tuesday in
Cape Owen Manor near Dublin.

Did you miss your chance to build a snowman following Tuesday’s wintry mix in Bladen County? You may get another chance Thursday, especially if you live in the northern part of the county.

Bladen County will be under a winter weather advisory from the National Weather Service beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday until noon Thursday as a winter storm is expected to make its way into the region. The storm is expected to bring some snow, freezing rain and rain throughout Bladen. Just how much may depend on where you live.

“The way it’s been described is if you draw a line between Lumberton and Burgaw, everything north of that line is expected to get one to three inches of snow and everything to the south is expected to get rain,” Bladen County Emergency Management Director Bradley Kinlaw said Wednesday morning. “However, this system is still well out in the Gulf. A change in the storm’s track of 20 miles will make a big difference.”

The National Weather Service is calling for rain to develop Wednesday afternoon before developing into either a wintry mix or snow Wednesday night. The precipitation will change to light freezing rain or freezing drizzle by daybreak Thursday before ending around noon. Temperatures are expected to be in the lower to mid 30s Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Winds are expected to be from the northeast between 5 to 15 mph, with gusts up to 20 mph.

N.C. Department of Transportation crews will be prepared to work on roads overnight as the storm develops, according to Ken Clark, who is an engineer in the Bladen County office.

“We’re going to have 15 people working tonight and all 10 of our trucks loaded and ready to go, plus a grader,” Clark said. “We’re not going to do any pre-storm brine application because this storm that’s coming in is supposed to have a lot of rain mixed in with it, so it’s kind of useless to put the brine out with all the rain.

“Once the event starts, we’ll keep an eye on temperatures. Once the temperatures start to get close to freezing, that’s when we will go out and start applying salt on the primary routes and bridges.”

Bladen County has seen a thawing out Wednesday from Tuesday’s winter storm that covered much of the county in snow and ice. It also made driving dangerous, especially Tuesday morning as snow and freezing rain continued to fall. Kinlaw estimated there were 19 traffic accidents Tuesday morning in Bladen County and another handful Tuesday afternoon. There were no reported traffic accidents in Bladen County on Wednesday morning. According to the N.C. Highway Patrol, there were 436 traffic accidents reported Tuesday in the Troop B district, which includes Bladen among its eight-county district.

This week’s winter weather has played havoc with schools and sports schedules. Bladen County schools were closed Tuesday and operated on a two-hour delay Wednesday. The first round of the state high school basketball playoffs were supposed to be played Tuesday, but the winter weather forced the game’s to be postponed, and with another weather system on the way, it’s uncertain when some games will be played.

As of noon Wednesday, the East Bladen at West Bladen boys game scheduled Wednesday at 7 p.m. was still on because of the short distance between the schools. However, the East Bladen girls home game against Eastern Randolph has been rescheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m., while the West Bladen girls game at Currituck County has been rescheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m., although the weather may cause another postponement.

The Bladen Five Middle School Conference basketball tournament games scheduled Tuesday have been rescheduled for Thursday beginning at 4 p.m. at Tar Heel Middle School. Championship games now are scheduled Monday.

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