Start the clocks. There was a thunderstorm late last night into early this morning, which according to many is a harbinger for snow within a week.
Meteorologists scoff at the idea, saying there is no link between winter thunderstorms and the proximity of snow in North Carolina. Anecdotally, I have noticed it nearly always happens.
My theory is that the collision of warm and cold fronts (aka, thunderstorms) indicates turbulence in the weather accompanied by moisture and, of course, cold air.
We all know about the “Snowmageddon” the other week, followed by a couple of days late in the week that were so warm and muggy that I worked up a sweat during a light walk on Friday morning as I watched the last bits of snow melt away.
Then, overnight, the weather busted loose again. The storm dumped 1.36 inches of rain at one location in New Bern, and a wind gust of 41 mph was reported in New Bern at 10:01 p.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service station in Newport.
Weather forecasts this morning differ slightly, but all call for below-freezing temperatures starting tonight (Saturday), and The Weather Channel predicts snow on Wednesday (though Accuweather does not, and the National Weather Service has not yet weighed in on the topic, though I have asked). Siri says it will snow, so there’s that.
“Snowmageddon” shut down the city for Thursday and schools for a full week, from Wednesday, Jan. 3, when the mere whiff of snow in the forecast was enough for jittery administrators to stop the buses, through Tuesday, Jan. 9. Country roads were in such poor shape on Wednesday, Jan. 10, that schools started three hours late.

Palace intrigue

After several unsuccessful attempts and several years of leadership instability, the state has finally named a new executive director at Tryon Palace.
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources named William J. McCrea, a veteran department employee, as the new executive director of Tryon Palace. McCrea has been serving as interim director of Tryon Palace since March of this year.
The position as advertised pays less than $100,000, hardly a princely sum considering the vast nature of Tryon Palace, which includes the N.C. History Center as well as several other historic sites and buildings. N.C. DNCR’s news release did not indicate whether McCrea was hired at the advertised rate.
McCrea replaces Lee Johnson, who was abruptly fired in February after 16 months on the job. The N.C. DNCR issued a short statement about Johnson’s dismissal: “Careful thought and consideration has been given and a change in leadership has been made for Tryon Palace. Mr. Johnson’s appointment as director has ended effective Feb. 23, 2017. We appreciate his service to Tryon Palace and to the state.”
(Jon Segal’s commentary about Lee Johnson’s dismissal, Sun Journal)
Johnson replaced Philippe Lafargue, a former Palace deputy director who served as interim director and then director following the December 2011 retirement of longtime Palace director Kay Williams, who died October 2012. Lafargue retired in March 2015.
Once entirely state-funded, the state-owned Palace has had to increasingly pay its own way after Democrats lost control in Raleigh in 2011.
Fun facts: As you face the Palace at the end of George Street, only the right wing, the stables, is original to the 18th century structure, which was the last colonial capital and first state capital of North Carolina. The rest of the Palace burned in the early 1790s in a fire, but not before George Washington visited and, reportedly, danced there. The Palace was reconstructed using original plans and private and donated money in the mid-20th century.

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