on January 1, 2008 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Snow in the forecast

Residents in the foothills of Oconee and Pickens counties could wake up Wednesday to a dusting of snow on the ground for the first time this winter.

The National Weather Service Office in Greenville expects heavy accumulation of snow in the mountains — as much as 10 inches in the upper terrain — and light flurries to cover the foothills.

In the meantime, recent rainfall — including heavy downpours over the weekend — doused fears that New Year’s Eve fireworks would keep firefighters busy throughout the night

“It appears as if the mountains will get the brunt of the snow event,” said meteorologist Harry Gerastetritif on Monday. “We could see heavy accumulation near the Tennessee line.”

Gerastetritif said accumulation of snow is unlikely out of the mountains.

Most of the snow activity is expected during the overnight hours Tuesday when temperatures tumble to the mid-20s. The snowy mix should exit the region by Wednesday evening, Gerastetritif said.

In the meantime, the rainfall that covered much of the area over the weekend — close to an inch in some spots — has greatly eased concerns of New Year’s Eve fireworks sparking countless house and yard fires Monday night.

Fire officials were dreading the prospects of illegal fireworks combined with tinder-dry drought conditions as a potential nightmare.

However, the recent rain has doused much of the fear.

“I would imagine that the grass and brush is saturated from the rain,” said Gerastetritif. “We’ve had plenty of fog in the morning in many areas, and that’s a good indication of good surface moisture.”

Regardless, fire officials still recommend that people lighting fireworks have a hose or bucket of water at hand just in case.

According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, backyard fireworks’ use is growing in popularity every year. New Year’s Eve fireworks’ sales typically fall short of sales recorded for the Fourth of July and Memorial Day.

Fireworks’ sales are approaching 300 million pounds in 2007, an increase of nearly 200 percent from the 102 pounds of fireworks used by Americans in 2000, said Julie Heckman, a spokeswoman for the American Pyrotechnics Association.