Crashes close highway lanes as cars hit slick roads, bridges

From staff reportsJanuary 18, 2013 

— Temperatures stayed around the freezing point Friday morning as drivers tried to get to work, creating black ice in spots on area roads, freezing bridge decks and causing numerous accidents.

In Raleigh, Police were called to a serious accident at Interstate 440 eastbound and Wake Forest Road, and most of the highway was blocked for a time.

New Hope Road was closed at U.S. 64 because of an accident, and police had to deal with several other accidents in the same area, including a box truck carrying chemicals that fell onto its side but did not leak.

Interstate 40 had numerous crashes on both sides in the area of the Durham Freeway and at N.C. 55, blocking lanes at those interchanges.

Later, a crash on the westbound side of the road closed three of four lanes near Interstate 540, the state Department of Transportation reported.

DOT trucks were out spreading salt on the ice across the area early in the morning.

By 9 a.m., the temperature at RDU International Airport had risen to 34 degrees from the 32 mark, where it had held for several hours.

The National Weather Service predicted highs in the mid-40s Friday and then lows in the low to mid-20s overnight, possibly recreating icing problems for any roads that remained wet from snow melting.

In Durham, police reported slick conditions on U.S. 15-501, especially on bridges.

The storm caused a few changes in school calendars. A full list of the major closings and delays is here.

The National Weather Service warned of black ice on highways.

The conditions made the highway warning signs that say “bridge ices before road” especially relevant as cold air sat above and below roadways.

Snowfall Thursday ranged from 3 inches in northwestern Orange County through almost none in eastern and southern sections of the area.

The weather service said the most snow fell in an area from Guilford County northeast through Person and Granville counties.

“While we’re fortunate to have dodged any plowing efforts, the roads remain wet and have the potential to be slick as temperatures teeter around freezing,” Cary Public Works Director Scott Hecht said.

Wake County schools decided Thursday afternoon to delay openings by two hours Friday.

Officials in Durham, where some schools were scheduled for a teacher workday already, said it was closing all schools.

In the Chapel Hill Carrboro system, officials decided on a two-hour delay for opening schools.

Orange County school officials announced shortly before 6 a.m. that schools would be closed Friday. A make up day was scheduled Wednesday, Jan. 23 for traditional-calendar schools. Hillsborough Elementary will make the day up on Monday, March 18.

Power problems were scattered in the Triangle after limbs brought down lines as snow fell Thursday night.

Duke Energy had restored most customers in Durham and Orange counties by 7 a.m. Friday.

In Guilford and Forsyth counties, about 6,000 customers remained without electricity.

Progress Energy reported no major problems.

For the latest conditions and updated forecasts, go to our weather center.

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