It wasn't the biggest of snowfalls. It wasn't even the biggest within the last 10 days.

It wasn’t the biggest of snowfalls. It wasn’t even the biggest within the last 10 days.

Still, the inch of snow that fell overnight Thursday into Friday was a surprise to many.

“It’s interesting,” Havelock High student Avery Maschmeier said as he was having a snowball with friends Friday morning at a bus stop prior to the start of school.

Schools were delayed two hours for the possibility of ice on the roads, but most roads and highways remained clear of any snow.

“Usually school gets canceled, but the roads are clear,” he said.

The students took turns throwing snowballs at each other as they waited for the bus.

“It’s perfect for snowballs,” Cassie Penner said.

Nixon Christensen, age 3, went to work early Friday, using a small, plastic shovel to place snow in a sand bucket.

“I’m going to make a snowman this big,” he said, stretching out his arms as wide as they would go. 

The National Weather Service had called for the possibility of snow overnight but initially did not expect any accumulation. That began to change as more moisture worked into the southeastern part of the state, prompting weather advisories to be posted for the area.

Casey Dail, meteorologist with the weather service in Newport, said anywhere from a 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches fell, mostly in Craven, Pamlico, Jones and Onslow counties.

“We had snow in the forecast but we got a little more than we thought we were going to get,” said Dail. “It was a strong upper level system that was moving through the Gulf states and the Southeast, and it just had a little more moisture than a lot of the (computer) models were showing. It was just a little bit stronger, and the temperatures were right there. They were marginal, but they were right there, so all those ingredients made for a little bit more accumulation than we were anticipating.”

With temperatures at or slightly above the freezing mark of 32 degrees, much of the snow that fell melted quickly on area roads, though some wrecks and travel hazards were reported, mainly on bridges.

The snowfall came just nine days after a large sleet and snow storm dropped about 2 inches in the Havelock area, but temperatures in the upper 20s and lower 30s prevented a quick thaw and many streets were covered in ice for about three days.

Dail said cold air in the upper levels of the atmosphere Thursday night and Friday morning caused the snow, as opposed to last week’s storm in which warmer air in the upper atmosphere brought a lot of freezing rain and sleet before the snow moved in.

As the sun emerged Friday morning, the snow began to melt quickly, with temperatures climbing to around 50 degrees.

Another system is expected to move into the area on Saturday, but the weather service is predicting rain, perhaps as much as three-quarters of an inch, with high temperatures in the middle to upper 40s.

Dail said for those wanting warmer weather, all they have to do is wait for a few more weeks. The long-range forecast shows a 30 to 40 percent chance of warmer than normal temperatures in March and April as spring arrives.

“Hopefully, there is hope on the horizon,” she said.