Palm trees in Wrightsville Beach slumped under the weight of ice and freezing rain and ice was visible on Wrightsville Beach’s three bridges late Wednesday morning as Winter Storm Pax moved through the Cape Fear region prompting school and government office closings while thousands in New Hanover County faced power outages.
Steve Pfaff, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, said in a Feb. 12 conference call that the coastal portions of the county had received between a quarter-and half-inch of ice as of that morning, with little additional frozen accumulation expected as temperatures climbed above freezing.
In Wrightsville Beach 1,733 residents lost power Tuesday night, Feb. 11 for 45 minutes to an hour. More than 6,000 residents throughout the county also faced power outages.
Pfaff said coastal areas would begin to see some relief Thursday, Feb. 13 although additional freezing would be possible going into Thursday night. For inland counties, up to three quarters of an inch of ice had accumulated as of Wednesday morning, Feb. 12.
“Thursday we’ll be in the upper 30s and could see 40 [to] 45 in the coastal areas,” Pfaff said. “These temps will certainly help us with some melting but the melting that occurs will see refreezing Thursday night.”
Friday will see temperatures rising to the upper 40s, and the National Weather Service expects them to remain above freezing overnight.
Pfaff cautioned motorists to drive carefully Thursday night and Friday morning, and said bridges would see freezing before and after ice had melted off of the rest of the roadways.
Bradley Creek Bridge on Oleander Drive was closed Feb. 12 following an accident. Linda Rawley, community relations officer with the Wilmington Police Department, said via email the accident was serious, but did not immediately return phone calls for additional information.
She also said via email tree limbs and power lines were reported down throughout the city.
New Hanover County Schools were closed Feb. 12, and, in a press release, spokesperson Heather Miller states a make-up day is planned for Saturday, Feb. 22.