The Arctic air will begin to loosen its grip on the Triangle on Tuesday, but not in time to allow schools and some businesses and institutions to reopen.
The region will begin the day in the teens, before partly sunny skies and southerly winds push temperatures above freezing and into the low 40s for the first time since Friday. Whether that’s enough to melt the ice that stubbornly coats many sidewalks and secondary roads remains to be seen.
Many roads remain too treacherous for school buses, prompting Wake, Durham, Orange, Johnston, Chatham and Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools to close again Tuesday. Wake Tech, Durham Tech and Johnston County community colleges will also be closed Tuesday.
The National Weather Service has a winter weather advisory in place for the Triangle through noon Tuesday that warns of hazardous driving conditions.
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But temperatures should remain above freezing overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, when a significant warmup really gets underway, according to the weather service. Highs will reach into the mid 50s Wednesday, then the upper 60s to near 70 on Thursday and Friday, when the last of the ice and snow will all but disappear.
The weekend storm was blamed for two deaths in North Carolina. An 85-year-old Surry County man died from prolonged exposure to cold on Monday after falling outside his home, Gov. Roy Cooper said in a news release. On Sunday, a woman died in Montgomery County when the car in which she was riding hit a tree.
Officials say the State Highway Patrol responded to 1,650 accidents and more than 3,600 calls for service from Friday evening through Monday morning. Power outages were fairly minimal statewide, going from a peak of 30,200 outages to about 1,600 on Monday.
Nearly 2,500 NCDOT employees, more than 2,100 vehicles and more than 64,000 tons of sand and salt had been used to clear North Carolina roads as of Monday morning. Drivers can check conditions by calling 511 or going to drivenc.gov.
GoRaleigh Transit asked users to be patient as buses proceed with caution on routes and to expect delays and detours while drivers navigate icy roads.
As of Monday morning, all airlines were operating on a near-normal schedule at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Both runways were open, though crews still were working on icy patches around gates and across the airfield.
Slippin’ and sliddin’
While there were no storm-related deaths reported in the Triangle, hundreds of people made visits to hospital emergency rooms with broken bones, lacerations and other injuries caused by ice-slicked roads and sidewalks.
With the numbers are still coming in, WakeMed Health & Hospitals, which runs Wake County’s only Level I trauma center, treated more than 220 cases of wintery wounds. About 60 of those were caused by sledding accidents.
But despite three days of nonstop subfreezing weather that encased the region in an ice glaze, WakeMed did not report a single case of cold exposure or hypothermia.
The leading cause of injuries so far has been slips and falls. The inevitable car accidents have also contributed to the totals.
UNC Rex Healthcare in Raleigh reported about 50 patients treated – about 30 of them on Sunday – including a handful whose injuries required surgery.
Duke Regional Hospital in Durham treated 30 patients, 21 of them relating to falling or slipping, the rest from sledding and car wrecks. Duke Raleigh Hospital’s casualty list included four broken ankles, three broken hips and six lacerations.
Duke University Hospital in Durham treated two carbon monoxide exposure cases, which are typically caused by cars idling in garages and releasing exhaust fumes into the home.
Duke University Hospital also treated six children and 27 adults for injuries.
“Definitely already seeing more falls, and more fractures AND head injuries!” Duke spokeswoman Sarah Avery said by email.
Staff writer John Murawski contributed.
Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett