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The main part of a winter storm produced big snowfall totals just west of Havelock and caused hazardous driving throughout the area.
Havelock police as well as N.C. Highway Patrol reported to numerous crashes on Tuesday, as slick roads played a factor as more than a few vehicles slid off area roadways. For the most part, there were no injuries associated with many of the crashes.
Snowfall totals of about 5 to 7 inches were reported in areas just west of Havelock such as Tucker Creek, Carolina Pines, Stately Pines and Riverdale. New Bern reported 9 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service.
In the central parts of Havelock, freezing rain and sleet mixed in with the snow, decreasing the accumulation totals but still creating hazards on the roads. Department of Transportation trucks and plows made several passes along U.S. 70 through Havelock on Tuesday, but the highway remained covered with ice and snow.
For most of Tuesday, the main dividing line between heavy snow and sleet was around the Tucker Creek area.
The wintry weather prompted Craven County Schools to close both Tuesday and Wednesday. Only missio-essential personnel were to report at Cherry Point on Wednesday, and Fleet Readiness Center East at Cherry Point was also closed on Wednesday.
A second storm is expected to impact the area starting Wednesday morning, but the weather service expects more sleet and freezing rain than snow. Eventually, increasing temperatures are expected to change the frozen precipitation to rain by early afternoon. Rainfall could be heavy, with as much as 1 to 2 inches possible through early Thursday morning.
The storm is not expected to be followed with freezing temperatures, most likely leading to a quick thaw of snow or sleet by Wednesday night into Thursday morning, according to the weather service. High temperatures Wednesday and Thursday are expected to be in the lower 40s. By Friday and through the weekend, high temperatures are predicted to be in the low to middle 50s, around average for this time of year, under mostly sunny skies.
This is the third time in two weeks a winter storm has impacted the area. On Jan. 28 and 29, a storm dropped about 2 inches of sleet and snow, and below freezing temperatures kept roads covered in ice for three days.
On Friday, a system that surprised forecasters produced about an inch of snow in the Havelock area, but temperatures that quickly warmed to near 50 degrees melted the snow quickly and no major road hazards were reported.