The wet, heavy snow that covered streets with slush and brought down trees and power lines Thursday morning will continue to disrupt life in the Triangle on Friday.
Plunging temperatures overnight was expected to turn wet streets icy again, making travel tricky. The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for black ice overnight through 10 a.m. Friday. And some residents faced the possibility of having no heat through Friday. Duke Power said it didn't expect to fully restore power until midnight Friday.
Schools across the Triangle are closed again Friday, except in Johnston County, where they were expected to open two hours late. Government offices, courts, N.C. State University and UNC-Chapel Hill announced they would open late, too, to try to keep people off the roads in the morning.
The storm dumped between 4 and 7 inches of snow in most Triangle communities, with less to the south and more near the Virginia state line. Roxboro got about 9 inches, while less than an inch fell in Angier, according to the weather service.
The slushy snow melted some Thursday, as temperatures inched above freezing. In Knightdale, town spokesman Brian Bowman said crews wrapped up their plowing operation about 1:30 p.m.
“The roads are in pretty good shape,” Bowman said. “It’s pretty slushy, which made clearing easier. They made really good progress.”
In Durham and Wake counties, dozens of state Department of Transportation road maintenance workers headed home Thursday afternoon after working 24-hour shifts plowing, salting and sanding roads, and helping with the removal of downed trees.
“They have not gotten a lot of the secondary roads today, because the winter weather continued until 9 a.m. this morning” and the DOT crews focused on clearing interstates and other major roads during the day Thursday, DOT spokesman Steve Abbott said. After checking the main highways for lingering problems Friday morning, they’ll concentrate on the roads they missed Thursday.
“Tomorrow we hope to make a huge dent on the secondary roads, because the temperatures will get into the 40s so things will start melting away,” Abbott said Thursday evening. “They can go in with the road graders and the trucks and the plows, and they can pretty much go hog wild.
“We expect to make significant progress tomorrow.”
‘Very good news’
Forecasters had been predicting the storm for several days, and its arrival overnight helped minimize traffic problems. Gov. Pat McCrory noted that there had been no deaths or serious injuries reported as a result of the storm and called that “very, very good news.”
What wasn’t expected, though, were the widespread power outages as snow and ice weighed on power lines and tree branches.
“We had more power problems than we anticipated due to the curve balls of the weather pattern,” McCrory told a midday briefing at the state Emergency Operations Center, which he said was operating on generators because its commercial power supply was out.
Power outages were widespread across the region, but especially heavy in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. At their peak, the outages affected about 150,000 Duke Energy customers in the Triangle.
Wake County opened an emergency shelter at Sanderson High School on Dixon Drive in North Raleigh for people without power. Johnston County opened one, too, at the First Baptist Church Ministry Center on South Fourth Street in Smithfield, as did Orange County at Smith Middle School on Seawell School Road in Chapel Hill.
The storm extended a period of unusually wintry weather that began last Monday and has many people yearning for normal. The scene was anything but at the gym in the Garner town recreation center Thursday, where only two kids had shown up by mid-afternoon.
Bryan Sosa, 14, was alone shooting baskets at 2:30 p.m. Since school was out yet again, Sosa had called early in the morning to see if he could play basketball. He said playing video games all day had gotten boring.
“It’s always full around this time,” Sosa said. “I don’t know why no one is here.”
Forecasters don’t expect normal temperatures to return until Monday, when it could get into the upper 50s with rain. The extended forecast from the weather service doesn’t include any snow or ice for the foreseeable future.
Staff writers Kara Bettis and Jonathan M. Alexander contributed to this report.