Road Conditions Starting to Improve, But Travel Remains Hazardous Across North Carolina

SHP car in snow
RALEIGH

Despite temperatures reaching above freezing this afternoon and some snow starting to melt, roads remain slick across much of the state. Another night of below freezing temperatures will likely cause continuing hazardous travel conditions, Governor Roy Cooper warned.

"I know I sound like a broken record, but it's important to stay off the roads unless it's absolutely necessary to drive," Gov. Cooper said. "DOT crews are working hard to clear the roads as quickly as possible and State Highway Patrol are focused on keeping North Carolinians safe. Less traffic means they can do their jobs more easily and get our state back up and running."

The State Highway Patrol reports nearly 2,700 traffic accidents from Tuesday night through 3 p.m. Thursday, and more than 4,220 calls for service, many of those coming after daybreak 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 occupant of that vehicle died. The driver has been identified as Lee Deshawn Norman, 26, of Plymouth. The cause of the collision is under investigation but state troopers advise the roadway was snow covered at the time of the collision.

NCDOT has nearly 2,400 employees with almost 1,700 trucks and graders clearing roads across the state, with assistance from more than 700 contractor trucks. Crews will work into the night. In areas where it becomes too cold to effectively plow, workers who have been working since last night will head home to rest and other crews will work to put more salt on the roads to get them ready to plow first thing tomorrow morning when the main crews return. So far, crews have placed about 44,000 tons of salt, more than 6,800 tons of a salt/sand mix and more than 985,000 gallons of brine on state roadways.

Most interstate and four-lane, divided routes across the state have been cleared. Drivers should still use extra caution and beware of isolated icy patches, especially on bridges and in shaded areas. Most secondary routes remain mostly covered with snow and ice, especially across the Piedmont. The Triangle area is receiving 12 pieces of equipment from the southeast part of the state to assist in clearing operations.

NCDOT clears roads in a priority order. Learn more about how that process works here.

Some Winter Weather Advisories continue through midday Friday for dangerous travel. Black ice and slick roads will be possible Thursday night and Friday morning across a majority of the state, even in counties not under an Advisory.

Utility companies have responded quickly to restore power outages, Governor Cooper said. As of 4 p.m. there were about 2,800 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 Lee counties.

Many school children will have another snow day tomorrow, or be on a delayed start. Several school systems have announced they will be closed Friday and more closures and delays are expected. Several universities and community colleges have also announced closings and delays for Friday.

A state of emergency that the Governor 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.

The Adverse Weather Policy for state employees will remain in effect Friday, January 19, 2018 in areas impacted by the winter storm and its lingering conditions. State employees should coordinate with their supervisors.

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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