The main roads and interstates in the Triangle are mostly dry after Wednesday night’s snow storm, but many streets and roads remain plagued by ice and snow, particularly in neighborhoods that road crews haven’t gotten to.
A second day of sun and temperatures up near freezing will help melt icy secondary roads, especially those treated with salt. But with temperatures expected to plunge into the single digits overnight, whatever hasn’t dried will freeze again by Saturday morning, producing more patches of ice.
Road conditions are worse south and east of the Triangle, where many roads are still covered with snow and ice. Moore County, which includes Southern Pines, got about 5 inches of snow, and Sheriff Neil Godfrey warned Friday morning that secondary roads remained covered and that even primary roads still have icy patches.
“Please drive only as fast as road conditions allow regardless of the posted speed limit,” Godfrey said in a statement. “And if you don’t have to be on the roads, please stay home.”
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Interstates 95 and 40 are mostly clear, except down near the coast, where even many four-lane highways remain partially covered by snow and ice.
After concentrating on major freeways on Thursday, N.C. Department of Transportation crews will turn their attention to two-lane state highways, such as N.C. 42, said NCDOT spokesman Andrew Barksdale. With the help of the sun, crews should get most of those roads clear Friday, before turning to secondary roads on Saturday, Barksdale said.
“Normally, we never get to the secondary roads, because after two or three days, the weather has warmed enough that those roads clear anyway,” he said.
This time around, temperatures aren’t expected to get above freezing until Monday, even down at the coast. If you’re planning a trip that way this weekend, you’ll probably have no troubles until you get close to your destination.
“By tomorrow, I think you’ll find the primaries in much better shape,” said Tim Hass, an NCDOT spokesman for the region that includes the Outer Banks. “That said, there will be black ice in spots through Monday.”
Hass said roads on the Outer Banks are in worse shape than elsewhere, because the storm began with several hours of rain that washed off much of the salt and brine crews had put down. Farther inland, where mostly snow fell on highways such as U.S. 64 and U.S. 17, the pre-treatment worked much better.
In Nags Head on Friday morning, the main roads were covered by a solid sheet of ice, and what few drivers who ventured out were skidding like novice ice skaters. The snow that fell Wednesday had hardened under sub-freezing temperatures and punishing wind.
The state ferries across the Cape Fear, Neuse and Pamlico rivers have reopened after the storm, and the two Pamlico Sound routes to Ocracoke Island are expected to resume operations Friday afternoon. The ferry between Hatteras and Ocracoke and the Currituck ferry remain closed.
Drivers thinking of heading south and east of the Triangle can get the latest road information from the NCDOT’s travel information system, at tims.ncdot.gov/tims.