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Warning issued as stage set for major winter punch

Milk. Bread. Shovels. Those are the ingredients for what’s become a tradition around these parts when a little snow is in the forecast: folks stop up on the essentials. Maybe it’s tradition because deep down we all like a little snow.

But this isn’t a little snow. According to forecasters, it’s the big one — a colossal coastal system set to bring up to a foot or more of snow to Halifax County.

Heavy snow. Heavy wet snow. The kind that’s a pain to shovel and sticks to everything including tree limbs and power lines, which brings the possibility of power outages.

This storm means business. To that end the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for heavy snow that includes Halifax County beginning 6 a.m. Wednesday and lasting through 6 p.m. Thursday. Generally, 6 to 12 inches of accumulation is expected with locally higher amounts possible. Snow should start falling by Wednesday afternoon, if everything holds to the current forecast.

Travel by Thursday morning will be dangerous — at best.

So far this winter we’ve only experienced clipper systems, as weather folks like to call them. These were fast moving minor snow makers that brought about 2 inches to the area. But, 2 inches is enough to bring life to standstill and close schools for days on end.

The ever-changing forecast — where totals seem to continue to creep upward — is all courtesy of a fresh supply of arctic air and a stalled frontal boundary. A “deepening” low will draw moisture out of the Gulf, which will fuel the heavy precipitation, according to the weather service.

“Once the intensifying surface low moves off the Southeast coast and begins its track up the Eastern Seaboard on Wednesday night, winter weather will start lifting northward into the northern Mid-Atlantic states,” read a statement from the weather service 

With the possibility of a major storm may come some skepticism, especially for an area that’s generally on the low end of snow totals.  Any change in the track could mean sleet mixed in, which would keep accumulations on the low end. 

Maybe there’s one thing for certain: It appears the groundhog may know what he’s talking about. Punxsutawney Phil, the famed furry weather prognosticator, predicted a longer winter just a week ago.