Gov. Roy Cooper and other state leaders asked residents to use caution during Monday's winter storm that was expected to bring up to 5 inches of snow to parts of the state.
"The calendar may say spring starts next week, but it is still winter in North Carolina," Cooper said at Monday's press conference.
Cooper asked people to stay off the roads, adding that 40 local school systems already had closed or announced early dismissals on Monday.
Hazardous driving conditions are the main concern, Cooper said.
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"Even though the forecast tells us this storm will be short-lived, driving will remain hazardous," he said. "We're ready at the state level to treat and clear roads and keep people safe."
While the Triangle should expect only a trace to 2 inches of snow, some areas could see nearly half a foot of accumulation, so hundreds of N.C. Department of Transportation employees — with 382 dump trucks, thousands of pounds of salt and gallons of brine — were prepared to clear roads on Monday.
“Snow is falling in some parts of our state, making for a messy and possibly dangerous commute for many people," Cooper said.
There had been no road closures as of 1:30 p.m. across the state, but some western roads did have icy spots, and the rain made it useless to apply brine to roads ahead of the storm, Cooper said.
"We can't treat (the roads) with brine in rain — it's ineffective," Cooper said. "Our crews will be ready to remove snow when it comes this way.
"We know this is not a huge snow but it is enough to cause concern and for you to use caution particularly this afternoon and evening."
And Cooper warned people not to be fooled into feeling secure if it's just raining, because the rain can quickly turn to sleet or snow and freezing lows tonight will turn moisture on roads into ice slicks.
"It's helped that schools are dismissed early or canceled because that's helped with the traffic," Cooper said. "But don't take it for granted; it's more than forecasters predicted. I don't think we thought we would be here (holding a press conference) yesterday. We do have to be concerned. We'd rather be over-prepared than under-prepared."
Cooper said as of Monday afternoon, he does not anticipate declaring a state of emergency.
A wind advisory and coastal flood advisory are in effect for the Outer Banks and Carteret County through Tuesday afternoon where minor flooding is expected on the ocean side in areas north of Cape Hatteras and along the sound side from Hatteras Village down through Carteret County.
Along the Outer Banks, equipment and crews are ready to push sand or debris off N.C. Highway 12 as needed, Cooper said.