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Snow and Falling Temperatures Making Road Conditions Treacherous

RALEIGH

From the mountains to portions of the coast, snowfall amounts will continue to climb and temperatures fall creating more hazardous road conditions. Governor Cooper says the reports of traffic accidents have been increasing throughout the day and he continues to encourage extreme caution for those who must venture out.

“We cannot stress it enough for everyone to stay off the roads unless you have no choice,” Governor Cooper said. “The state’s transportation workers continue to clear the primary roads and troopers and first responders are helping motorists in need. Staying off the roads allows these employees to do their jobs more safely, which in turn makes it safer for everyone else.”

Temperatures will fall overnight into the teens and any snow, slush or water on roadways will freeze making driving conditions even more dangerous. State Highway Patrol reports nearly 1,600 traffic accidents since midnight. Fortunately, there have been no storm related deaths reported.

In Surry County, both lanes of U.S. Highway 52 were closed today for approximately four hours following a fiery tractor trailer accident and an accident that happened just a minute earlier where a tractor trailer ran off the road. Both accidents happened in the same area just south of Interstate 74. One tractor trailer had reportedly lost control as it approached the bridge over Simmons Grove Church Road. The cab of the tractor trailer moved across the concrete bridge railing catching fire and then coming to rest on the opposite side of the railing. Both tractor trailer drivers were not seriously injured. All lanes were reopened at by 2:30 p.m

As the storm moves to the east, meteorologists expect snow totals of four to six inches across much of central North Carolina, with as much as seven to eight inches and possibly higher in some areas. Lesser amounts ranging from one to three inches are expected in the mountains, foothills and coastal plain.

Power outage numbers have been climbing with the highest number reaching about 30, 000 without power around 5 p.m. Areas with the highest number of power outages include Durham, Chatham, Lee, Orange and Mecklenburg counties. Utility companies have crews responding and working to restore power as quickly as possible.

Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories remain in effect until Thursday morning for accumulating snow, black ice and hazardous travel. Cold temperatures are in store tonight and when paired with gusty winds, it will create wind chills in the teens to single digits. Wind Chill Advisories have been posted for portions of the mountains where temperatures will feel like -10 degrees Thursday morning. Wind Advisories are also in effect for the Outer Banks where gusts could reach up to 45 mph. Emergency management officials urge residents to stay tuned to their local forecast and heed advice from local authorities.

NCDOT has nearly 2,000 employees with almost 1,400 trucks and graders clearing roads across the state, with assistance from more than 650 contractor trucks. Crews will work into the night. In areas where it becomes too cold to effectively plow, workers who have been in since overnight will head home to rest and other crews will come in to put more salt on the roads to get them ready to plow first thing Thursday morning when the main crews return. So far, they have placed about 12,000 tons of salt and more than 2,000 tons of a salt/sand mix on state roadways.

Gov. Cooper declared a state of emergency yesterday to enable expedited storm response and recovery. The declaration also triggers the state’s price gouging laws. He also issued an executive order waiving truck weight, size and hours of service restrictions to ease movement of supplies and equipment.

The State Emergency Operations Center activated this morning to coordinate storm response throughout the impacted areas. Storm response activities include:

  • State troopers are marking abandoned vehicles along the roadway and coordinate with local law enforcement to ensure no one is stranded. 
  • State troopers and transportation crews will work to clear disabled vehicles quickly so they don’t impede traffic. 
  • Adverse weather policy is in effect for state employees. State employees should coordinate with their supervisors. 

Follow NC Emergency Management and NCDOT on Facebook and Twitter for the latest storm updates. 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.

 

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