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White Christmas causes few problems

December 27, 2010

Snowfall blanketed Catawba County during the holiday weekend, but the resulting ice and snow caused mostly minor problems for county residents.

Catawba County received about 5-8 inches of snow this weekend, according to the National Weather Service. The holiday snowfall marks the first white Christmas for the area in more than six decades.

Although majority of the snow fell in the county Saturday and Sunday, a winter weather advisory remained in effect until noon Monday for Catawba County. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued the advisory because of "widespread black ice" and cold temperatures, according to its website.

Despite the snowfall, the county experienced few serious collisions from the winter weather.

Six traffic collisions were reported in Hickory on Friday, and seven collisions were reported within the city Saturday, according to Hickory Police Department Sgt. P.A. Demas. On Sunday, three collisions were reported in Hickory.

Demas said the reported collisions are at or slightly less than the average number documented during a winter-weather incident.

In Newton, few crashes were reported.

"We had a few cars that went off into the ditch," said Newton Police Chief Don Brown. "But there were no serious injuries."

Brown said most of the crashes were weather-related, and involved slick spots or patches of snow on the road.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol received hundreds of calls about reported crashes, but there were no serious injuries.

According to the Highway Patrol, majority of the incidents were single-vehicle crashes because of the weather that resulted in minor property damage.

Motorists are encouraged to be cautious, because the snow in Catawba County could stick around for the next couple days. Daily high temperatures for Tuesday and Wednesday are set to be in the upper 30s and low 40s. Low temperatures at night are expected to hover in the upper teens, making morning commutes potentially treacherous, as long as melting snow remains on roadways.

As the weekend approaches, however, temperatures are expected to increase to 58 degrees. By New Year's Day, the forecast calls for more precipitation -- this time in the form of rain.

Catawba County wasn't the only county to experience abnormal precipitation during Christmas. Surrounding cities in western North Carolina also had record snowfall this weekend. Asheville experienced a record in daily snowfall Christmas Day when 6.5 inches fell on the city. The previous record, 5.4 inches, was set in 1969.

Charlotte also had a record-breaking amount of daily snowfall Sunday at 1.6 inches. Sunday's snowfall in the Queen City more than doubled the 1917 record of 0.7 inches.

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