RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper urges residents to be safe and stay off the roads as most North Carolina counties continue to experience snow or sleet that began overnight.
“This storm is not over, so please stay off the roads and use extra caution if you absolutely must drive,” Governor Cooper urged North Carolinians.
A vehicle-related fatality in Granville County that occurred Friday night is being investigated to determine if it is related to the winter storm. Most all traffic accidents reported so far have not resulted in serious injuries and have been primarily involved property damage.
North Carolina Highway Patrol troopers have responded to more than 460 calls for service and about 260 wrecks since midnight.
On Friday, the governor declared a State of Emergency ahead of the storm that has covered a wide swath along the I-85 corridor from Cleveland County through the Triad and along the Virginia-border counties with 6 to 10 inches of snow. The foothills and mountains have received between five to nine inches of snow with some locally higher amounts. Other areas, including the Triangle, have been met with icy conditions instead of the snow amounts originally forecasted.
Even though snow did not materialize in significant amounts in most of the south-central and southeastern parts of the state, conditions are still treacherous. The Triangle area and portions of central North Carolina could still see between 1 and 3 inches of snow through Saturday afternoon. Areas to the south and east of I-85 have seen a wintry mix. Ice continues to build in areas in and around the Triangle. Wintry participation will taper off from west to east through the afternoon.
Bitterly cold temperatures are forecasted for Saturday night and into Sunday, with most areas expected to be in the teens and single digits. Any slush or lingering moisture is expected to refreeze overnight.
“Frigid temperatures mean travel will be treacherous even after the snow, sleet and freezing rain stop falling, Governor Cooper warned.”
North Carolina Department of Transportation crews applied nearly 3 million gallons of salt brine on major routes in advance of the storm and will continue to plow and treat roads into Saturday evening. Roadways are cleared in priority order, with interstates and other major routes addressed first.
Highway Patrol, local law enforcement and the Army National Guard are checking all abandoned vehicles on state roadways to ensure no one is stranded in dangerous conditions. Unoccupied vehicles will be flagged to indicate that they have been checked.
As of 9:30 a.m., approximately 25,000 power outages had been reported statewide, mostly in Alamance, Mecklenburg, Union, Tyrrell and Washington counties.
The North Carolina State Emergency Response Team continues to closely monitor the weather and coordinate with local emergency managers on any needed resources. State Emergency Management is working with the counties to ensure their needs are met.
Travelers are urged to call 511 or go 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.
If you must travel, the North Carolina Highway Patrol recommends following these safety tips:
- Reduce your speed. Driving at the regular speed limit will reduce your ability to control the car if you begin to slide.
- Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles. Bridges and overpasses accumulate ice first. Approach them with extreme caution and do not apply your brakes while on the bridge.
- If you do begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Do not apply the brakes as that will cause further loss of control of the car.
Those heeding warnings and staying home should remember not to use gas-powered generators or other fuel-burning appliances indoors or in their garage because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Real-time weather and road conditions and shelter openings, as well as winter safety tips, can be found on the free ReadyNC mobile app or online at www.readync.org website.