Heavy Snowfall Combined with Bitter Cold Temperatures Makes for Slick Road Conditions G Governor Cooper Continues to Urge North Carolinians to Put Safety First


As the winter storm that brought heavy snow to many areas in North Carolina moves out to sea, Governor Cooper continues to encourage people to stay off the roads. Overnight temperatures in the teens mean anything on the roads is frozen and will take some time to thaw. Snow and ice that melt today will likely refreeze tonight and create hazardous conditions Friday morning.

"We will feel this extraordinary storm's impact for days," Gov. Cooper said. "I've said it before, but I can't say it enough: the snow is beautiful, but driving in it can be treacherous. Don't drive unless you absolutely must."

The State Highway Patrol reports more than 3,500 calls for service since the storm began including more than 2,000 collisions, with an uptick in crashes Thursday morning. 

One traffic fatality has been reported in rural Washington County, near Roper, where a vehicle went off the road and overturned in a canal.  The single occupant of that vehicle died. Initial reports said a passenger had also died but investigators have determined that there was no passenger in the vehicle.

More than 2,000 Department of Transportation employees are working to clear roads with more than 1,500 state trucks and graders at work, supported by more than 700 contract trucks.

Utility companies have done excellent work in quickly responding to restore power outages, Governor Cooper said.  As of 12 p.m. there were about 8,000 outages down from a peak Wednesday evening of approximately 40,000 homes and businesses without power statewide.   Most of those were in Durham, Chatham and Orange counties. 

Across the state, most children remain out of school due to the snow. One hundred school systems are closed today and about a dozen had delayed starts. A number of universities and community colleges are closed or delayed.

A state of emergency that Governor Cooper signed Tuesday remains in effect, along with an executive order waiving truck weight, size and hours of service restrictions to ease movement of heating fuel, supplies and equipment and to allow restoration of utility services.

Temperatures will rise above freezing today across North Carolina and high temperatures are expected to warm through the weekend. A Winter Weather Advisory is currently in effect for the majority of North Carolina and is expected to expire at noon. This is due to the dangerous travel conditions as roads remain covered with snow and ice.  As roads aren't expected to clear completely before temperatures drop below freezing again tonight, a Winter Weather Advisory is likely to be reissued. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for southeastern Carteret County and the Outer Banks areas of Hyde and Dare Counties due to lingering snowfall.

Preliminary snowfall totals have been reported and some of the largest observed are:

  • 12 inches or more in some parts of Chatham and Durham counties
  • 6-10 inches across much of the Piedmont
  • 5-7 inches in the foothills and mountains
  • 10 inches in the northern Outer Banks
  • 2-4 inches along the coastal plain and more than 7 inches along portions of the coast.

More information

Real-time weather and road conditions, as well as winter safety tips, can be found on the free ReadyNC mobile app or online at readync.org.

Travelers are urged to go to drivenc.gov for up to date roadway conditions. Motorists are reminded NOT to call 911 or the State Highway Patrol Communication Centers for roadway conditions. Callers can dial 211 for information about other resources. Deaf and hard of hearing callers can reach 211 by dialing 888-892-1162.