Havelock residents were dealing with an icy mess as the season’s first winter storm spread a slew of freezing rain, sleet and snow across the area.


Havelock residents were dealing with an icy mess as the season’s first winter storm spread a slew of freezing rain, sleet and snow across the area.



Though original forecasts had call for as much as 10 inches of snow in the Havelock area, the National Weather Service continued to update predictions with a finicky low pressure system that had yet to take shape off the coast.



For some, the storm didn’t seem possible, considering Monday temperatures were in the 60s. By Tuesday, temperatures were in the upper 20s.



“It’s kind of freaky,” Havelock resident Phil Means said of the shifts between the warm and cold weather. “I liked it when it was warm. And now, out of nowhere, this, a quick day of snow.”



By Tuesday afternoon, ice was beginning to stick on roadways, despite efforts from Department of Transportation crews to keep the main highways clear of snow and sleet.



“We’ve seen the DOT trucks make several passes on Highway 70 to keep the roads from freezing,” Havelock Police Chief G. Wayne Cyrus said. “If operator’s exercise caution, it just adds to the equation in keeping the roads safe.”



He urged residents to stay off the roads.



“If you must travel, just use extreme caution,” he said. “Travel the main highways as much as possible, and just slow down.”



Balls of frozen precipitation coated cars in ice as freezing rain and sleet fell first, announcing the arrival of the storm.



Shera Carter, an employee at the Havelock Walmart, came out midway in her shift to scrape the ice off of her car, which had been sitting there gathering frozen precipitation since 7 a.m.



“I just came out to scrape it off so that when I get off at 4 I don’t have so much to scrape off,” she said.



She said she wasn’t too concerned with the storm.



“I’m not taking it too seriously,” Carter said. “I don’t think it’s going to be as bad as some people say. You’ve just got to be safe on the road.”



Jason Robinson, of Newport, bought his family something to burn in the fireplace for the storm.



“I got us some wood. That was about it,” he said, ignoring the normal bread and milk that is often quick to empty off store shelves. “We have a fireplace. I just haven’t bought a cord of wood yet this year.”



Wayne McCaw, of Vanceboro, a security guard at Cherry Point, bought three loaves of bread and a gallon of milk for the storm at the urging of his wife.



“I’m ready for it,” McCaw said. “I like the snow. I hope it’s a lot. We’ll just have to see.”



Joshua Scruggs, 16, of Newport, had a cold job dressed up as Lady Liberty to advertise Librerty Tax service on West Main Street.



“I can stand the cold because I’m from the north,” Scruggs explained, through shivering lips. “People came by and offered me some hot cocoa.”



Scruggs said he was excited to get some snow.



“I’m actually kind of happy to get snow again,” Scruggs said. “The last time I remember getting snow I was in middle school year.”



In the parking lot of Food Lion on the east side of Havelock, employee April Gill was bundled up as she did another cold job gathering shopping carts.



“It’s cold, but I enjoy it,” Gill said.



Food Lion store manager Dan McMullen said customers had been buying a lot of water, bread and milk in anticipation of the storm.



“The shelves are blown out, but we’ve got extra shipments coming in,” McMullen said. “We put our customers first.”



McMullen said the store was prepared for the storm.



“We actually planned last week for this, thinking that the bad weather would come this way when they predicted it, even though it wasn’t real defined,” McMullen said.



McMullen said the store had a snow plow on standby to clear the parking lot of snow and ice if it was needed.



Betty Smith, who has been manager of the Radio Shack in Havelock for the last 21 years, said the storm was impacting business.



“Does it devastate local businesses? Yes, because people stay home,” she said. “When you’re not making any money, it’s costing you money.”



She estimated that about 80 percent of her business came from Marines at Cherry Point, and when the base essentially shut down for the storm, the business at her store dried up.



“I’m going to call my boss to see if he’ll let me go home,” she said. “It’s crazy to suck up payroll and lights. There’s not enough business to stay open.”



Schools were closed Tuesday and Wednesday, and Cherry Point was open only for designated personnel. The weather forced the Cherry Branch-Minnesott Beach ferry to cease operations at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.



“We had ice on the decks and ice on the ramps,” said Sue Kinner, operations manager at the ferry. “They’re metal and it’s just a bad situation. We have stuff we can put on it but we could not keep up with it, and it was a losing battle.”