A slow-moving storm lumbered into North Carolina Wednesday, threatening 6 inches of snow in the Triangle as temperatures dropped to freezing. Gov. Roy Cooper described road conditions as “extremely hazardous” and urged workers statewide to go home before conditions worsen.
The Triangle woke to cloudy skies and none of the promised accumulation, but Cooper warned that the storm is slower than expected and could dump as much as 8 inches over the state in its longer-than-expected stay.
“If it hasn’t reached you yet,” he said in a Raleigh news conference Wednesday morning, “it’s probably going to get there soon.”
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The state Department of Transportation poured 2 million gallons of salt brine on roads statewide to stave off icy conditions. By 10 a.m. Wednesday, the state Highway Patrol had reported 546 collisions across the state, most of them in the mountain counties where snow began falling Tuesday night.
Nearly all of North Carolina’s 115 school systems closed or shortened school schedules, Cooper said.
Most of the state is under a winter storm warning, and others are under a winter storm advisory.
“Be careful today,” said Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon. “Especially if you’re in the Piedmont as temperatures fall this evening travel conditions will get extremely hazardous.”
Flakes began whipping across Raleigh roads just as Cooper began speaking, though they quickly melted into puddles on the ground.
Temperatures should quickly drop through the afternoon, allowing snow to accumulate by as much as an inch an hour.
“This storm is pretty intense,” Cooper said.
Overnight freezing will lead to icy conditions Thursday, Cooper said, but temperatures should rise and hopefully lead to a thaw by the weekend.
Most of the Piedmont is expected to get 5 to 8 inches of snow, with 2 to 4 inches across the central and northern Coastal Plain counties and 1 to 2 inches in the far southeastern counties, the National Weather Service in Raleigh reported Wednesday morning.
If motorists must be on the road, they’re encouraged to increase their distance between cars, monitor speed, plan for delays and avoid distraction while driving. Do not call 911 or *HP for updates on road conditions. Instead, check drivenc.gov.