Storm snarls Southeast

Friday, April 11, 2003

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Rain, hail and springtime snow pelted parts of the Southeast on Thursday, keeping schoolchildren home and swamping already-sodden roads. Up to a foot of snow was possible in the mountains.

"We have at least 4 inches and it's coming down like you wouldn't believe," said Deb Mock of Maggie Valley, on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. "My daughter just came up the mountain and got stuck across the street. She couldn't make it all the way home."

The precipitation stretched from Georgia through the western Carolinas and into eastern Kentucky. It was expected to continue into today.

The weather forced schools to close early in eight North Carolina counties and the weather service warned mountain dwellers that the weight of the snow could knock down trees onto power lines.

Flood advisories covered much of the Southeast, including parts of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and eastern Kentucky.

Wide weather variety

But North Carolina appeared to catch the widest variety of weather.

"We've got from snow in the mountains to hail in the western Piedmont to gales at the coast," said Joel Cline, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Raleigh.

Winds of up to 38 mph were measured by Frank Folb at his fishing tackle shop in Avon along the Outer Banks.

"Yes, yes and yes," Folb said when asked if the wind was up, the surf rough and rain falling hard. "I have not had many customers today. My cash register is so cold I could chill drinks in it. This is miserable."

Tidal flooding on the Outer Banks early Thursday briefly washed over the coastal highway and knocked out power for about three hours.

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