The Triangle emerged from a thick coating of ice as Winter Storm Jonas finished its three-day assault, though thousands of homes remained without power Sunday and persistent ice forced several school systems to close.
However, outages had dropped to a total of 27,000 statewide just before 6 p.m., with 9,950 of those in Wake County and 7,800 in Johnston County, a Duke Energy spokesman said. Duke Energy officials said they expected most customers’ service to be restored “by tonight,” meaning Sunday.
Officials in Wake, Durham, Granville, Chatham and Orange counties and Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools announced Sunday that they will stay closed Monday. School officials in Johnston County said the system will open on a two-hour delay Monday.
Sunny skies failed to melt all the ice on side roads and in shaded areas, and officials urged caution even though much of the storm’s effects had faded. The National Weather Service predicted highs nearing 50 degrees Monday, a level expected to melt any lingering hazards.
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In its announcement of closings, the Wake County school system cited the expectation that roads will refreeze overnight, particularly the neighborhood streets used by school buses. At least five Wake County schools, including three in Fuquay-Varina, one in Garner and one near Knightdale, were without power Sunday afternoon.
“Rising temperatures and sunshine are the best types of help we could ask for our transportation and utility crews who have worked so hard throughout this storm,” Gov. Pat McCrory said in a press release Sunday. “We know people are anxious to resume their routines, but there are still slick spots out there; we want people to be careful and safe.”
Crews from Duke Energy scrambled to repair lines and transformers damaged by ice and falling limbs Sunday. Knightdale, Zebulon and Fuquay-Varina took some of the heaviest punches. One side street off Hodge Road in Knightdale had three utility trucks parked on it Sunday.
The Red Cross opened a shelter at Apex United Methodist Church Sunday, replacing an earlier space at Sanderson High School in Raleigh that housed people over the weekend. Wake County spokesman Eric Curry said 24 people moved to the new shelter.
Sunday saw icicles dropping from tree branches and melted snow running off rooftops in steady streams. Forests that sparkled silver and white slowly changed back to green. Neighbors cut downed limbs with chain-saws in Clayton, and around Raleigh, people rode bicycles and jogged after two days of being trapped inside.
“This isn’t bad,” said Lindsey Doring, a freshman at N.C. State University from New Jersey, pushing her bike up an icy patch of Hillsborough Street. “I’m glad I’m not home.”
Still, pine trees were bent double in Knightdale, and an ambulance and fire truck got stuck on the ice in Wake Forest, requiring a tow. Waffle House sent workers from Atlanta to help with shifts at restaurants in Raleigh. Among the helpers: CEO Walt Ehmer.
N.C. Department of Transportation sent additional trucks full of salt to the Triangle from Sampson County. More trucks from District 2 near Greenville arrived to help clear roads in Durham.
The N.C. Highway Patrol reported more than 2,400 crashes related to the storm, including six fatalities in counties west of the Triangle.
Early Saturday, Trooper R.P. Charubini was injured in Rowan County while warning people driving all-terrain vehicles on a highway. When the trooper tried to approach the four-wheeler drivers, they charged at him. He is being treated for his non-life threatening injuries. The North Carolina Troopers Association is offering a $1,000 cash reward for information leading directly to the capture and arrest of the two suspects.
Staff writer T. Keung Hui contributed to this article.
Makeup days to come
Wake County schools have already announced make-up days for students on its many different calendars:
▪ Traditional-calendar students will have classes on Feb. 15 and March 24.
▪ Year-round students on tracks 1 and 2 will have classes Jan. 30 and April 2. Track 3 will have school April 2. Track 4 will go to school Jan. 30.
▪ Modified-calendar schools will have classes Feb. 15 and March 7.
▪ Leadership academies will have classes on Feb. 15-16.
▪ Wake Early College of Health and Sciences and Vernon Malone College and Career Academy will be open March 3 and March 18.
▪ Wake STEM Early College will be open May 6 and May 23.
Wake County Public Schools System