Roads Clearing, but Bitter Cold Temperatures Remain Black Ice and Slick Spots are Still Dangers for Drivers, Wind Chill Advisory in Effect

RALEIGH

Road conditions on major interstates and highways in North Carolina are greatly improved today and Department of Transportation crews have turned their attention to clearing secondary roads, but there are still many patches of black ice and drivers should continue to be cautious, Governor Roy Cooper advised.

“Last night was a quieter one for troopers on our highways,” said Governor Cooper. “It appears that many people heeded the warnings and stayed off the roads, and there were far fewer collisions.  But very cold temperatures remain along with icy spots on many secondary roads and neighborhood streets, so we need to keep our guard up.”

In less than 48 hours, State Highway Patrol troopers responded to more than 2,000 calls for service and 1,270 collisions. 

Four deaths were attributed to the winter storm. A man died yesterday in Surf City after his vehicle went off the road and into a canal. Earlier weather-related deaths included two men who died when their truck overturned in a creek in Moore County and one man who died when his truck ran off the road and overturned in Beaufort County.

Utility companies including Duke Energy, Dominion Power, ElectriCities and the NC Electric Cooperatives have done excellent work in quickly responding to restore power outages during this cold weather, Governor Cooper said. Power outages peaked at more than 20,000 Thursday morning during the storm. As of 2:00 p.m. there were about 1,200 homes and businesses without power statewide, mostly in Wake County. A few counties have opened warming centers in various public buildings, where people can spend time out of the cold if their power is out or their home heating is not working.

A state of emergency that Governor Cooper signed Wednesday will remain in effect through the weekend, 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 remain at or below freezing across North Carolina today and the cold plus gusty winds means a Wind Chill Advisory is in effect for a majority of the state through mid-day Saturday. People outdoors should dress warmly in layers and cover exposed skin with hats, gloves and scarves to prevent frostbite. Exposures to extreme wind chill for greater than 30 minutes can result in frostbite. Record low temperatures are forecast through the weekend.

With the extremely cold temperatures, the Department of Health and Human Services offers these tips for staying safe and healthy during cold weather:

  • Wear warm, dry clothing and make sure body parts most often affected by frostbite are covered (nose, ears, toes, cheeks, chin, fingers) 
  • Limit time outside during cold temperatures and seek shelter in a warm, dry place 
  • Check on others who might be at risk for cold weather-related illness 
  • Seek care if hypothermia or frostbite is suspected Never use a gas-powered generator or other fuel-burning appliances indoors or in the garage 
  • Never use charcoal grills or propane stoves indoors, even in a fireplace Never use a gas oven to heat a home, even for a short amount of time 
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm with an Underwriters Laboratory UL™ listing on each level of a home and near all sleeping areas 
  • Carefully follow the directions to ensure proper alarm placement and check the batteries regularly 
  • Replace alarms more than seven years old or when end-of-service indicator chirps Evacuate and call 911 if a carbon monoxide alarm sounds 

 

Low-Income Energy Assistance Program

For many of North Carolina’s most vulnerable residents, paying household heating bills during the winter may be a challenge. County departments of social services are accepting applications for the state's Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, which provides one-time federal heating payment assistance to those who qualify. Funds are available until March 31 or until funds are exhausted. More information on eligibility and how to apply is available from local social services: ncdhhs.gov/divisions/dss/local-county-social-services-offices.

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.

 

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