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No panic ahead of predictions for year’s first snowfall


Was it the calm before the storm? Ignorance of the forecast? Or maybe a new attitude emerging in the Fredericksburg region?

Whatever the reason, people weren’t racing down grocery aisles Wednesday afternoon scooping up milk, bread and other staples in anticipation of Thursday’s predicted snowfall.

The National Weather Service forecast 2 to 4 inches of snow for the Fredericksburg region Thursday. After a morning mix of rain and snow, NWS calls for periods of heavy snow in the afternoon and evening, likely impacting rush hour.

Orange County and localities closer to Charlottesville could get a heavier accumulation, the Weather Service said.

Other forecasters predicted similar accumulations for the Fredericksburg area. AccuWeather was calling for 2 to 4 inches this evening. The Weather Channel predicted 1 to 3 inches.

Though the storm was expected to continue late into tonight, Friday is expected to bring sunshine and a high of 38, making it the first dry day of the week.

Many readers on Wednesday were hopeful of the first appreciable snowfall, but some remained skeptical.

Optimists are eager to get outdoors to use the sleds received at Christmas, to build the season’s first snowmen, and to hurl the first snowballs of 2013.

Others hope for a quiet day inside to snuggle with spouses and pets, sip hot cocoa and savor the winter scene without the chill.

Pessimists said they’ll believe the predictions when the snow materializes.

The few people who were heading in and out of grocery stores Wednesday afternoon weren’t stocking up for a storm.

Liz Moore was exiting the Hilltop Plaza Giant in Spotsylvania County with a few bags of groceries to feed her daughter, who gave birth to a girl on Jan. 9.

Moore lived in the Fredericksburg area for 20 years but moved to Wisconsin six months ago and has gained a new perspective on winter.

“This isn’t snow to us,” she said. “I already know the difference.”

Heather Buchanan of Spotsylvania was headed into the Food Lion on Tidewater Trail on a routine grocery-shopping trip. That didn’t mean she wouldn’t welcome a snow day.

“I don’t get my hopes up,” she said. “But I know our drivers do.”

Buchanan, who works in Stafford County as a school bus dispatcher, said the bus drivers were starting an enthusiastic online chant.

“They’re on Facebook right now [saying], ‘Bring it on. Bring it on.’”

Staff reporter Katie Thisdell contributed to this story.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972