The winter storm that dumped snow in most of North Carolina, nearly a foot in some areas, by Thursday morning is being blamed for the death of at least one person.
A fatal vehicle wreck related to the storm killed a driver who ran off the road in Washington County Thursday morning, said Keith Acree, Department of Public Safety spokesman.
The car ran off Newland Road and overturned into a canal between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Thursday morning.
Previous news reports said two people died in the wreck.
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Weather forecasters and police warned of miserable driving conditions likely to extend into Friday.
The National Weather Service posted an advisory through noon for “treacherous driving” across all of central North Carolina that likely will continue through the weekend.
A state of emergency declared by Gov. Roy Cooper statewide on Tuesday remained in effect until further notice.
Schools across the area began announcing on Thursday that they would be closed again on Friday – the third snow day in a row for some areas.
The snow that fell all day, and into the night in some areas, overwhelmed the ability of highway crews to keep lanes drivable.
The state Department of Transportation said Thursday morning that interstates were covered or partly covered with snow and ice, and smaller highways and secondary roads were almost all covered.
The N.C. Highway Patrol on Thursday reported more than 3,500 calls for service and 2,000 collisions since midnight Tuesday – with an uptick in collisions on Thursday morning.
Frigid temperatures again Thursday night are going to make roads hazardous again on Friday, too, because water from any melting is likely to form black ice, the weather service warned.
Police, sheriff’s deputies and state troopers were attending to cars and trucks that had run into trouble on the slick highways.
Raleigh police rescued two people Thursday afternoon after a car ended up in a creek on Grandover Drive at Landreaux Drive. Both people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Northbound Interstate 85 was closed at NC 86 in Hillsborough because of a wreck Thursday morning, authorities said.
In Raleigh, police closed Glenwood Avenue, heading toward Durham, at Pinecrest Road because of a crash.
Northbound Interstate 95 lanes in Johnston County were temporarily closed near exit 87 due to a wreck but quickly reopened.
DOT crews prioritized primary roads, including highways, and will move on to secondary roads based on traffic volume. Crews will work mostly on secondary roads on Friday, Cooper said.
Cooper asked residents to stay home if they can.
“We cannot stress it enough for everyone to stay off the roads unless you have no choice,” Cooper said. “The state’s transportation workers continue to clear the primary roads and troopers and first responders are helping motorists in need. Staying off the roads allows these employees to do their jobs more safely, which in turn makes it safer for everyone else.”
And Cooper encouraged people to stay home to watch the N.C. State-Wake Forest basketball game on Thursday.
The latest road conditions can be found at drivenc.gov.
Duke Energy Progress reported a peak of more than 30,000 homes and businesses without power statewide Wednesday night.
By about 4 p.m., the number had dropped to about 2,700 outages and was continuing to go down as issues were addressed.
How much snow?
A foot of snow fell in parts of northern Chatham County, said meteorologist Don Schwenneker of ABC11. About a foot also fell in parts of Durham County, according to a news release from Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday.
Nine inches piled up in Siler City, and places in Roxboro and Louisburg got 10 inches.
Wake County got 4 to 7 inches. Five inches fell at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, breaking the record for Jan. 17 of 4 inches set in 1946, ABC11’s Chris Hohmann said.
Temperatures in the 50s or above on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will help further melt the snow, but overnight lows below freezing until Sunday will limit that and make black ice a problem in the mornings, weather service meteorologist James Morrow said.
“Most of the trees will loose a lot” of their snow under Thursday’s bright sunshine, Morrow said, but snow may remain on the ground into next week in areas that got covered with 9 to 12 inches.
Friday morning likely will pose a black-ice threat on all but the most heavily traveled roads, Morrow said. “Anything that’s wet after dark” from melting snow has that potential, he said.
High pressure will continue to build into the area Thursday night, according to the weather service, allowing arctic air to stay put through Friday morning at least.
Any improvement on roadways will “quickly revert” the weather service said, addign that temperatures are expected to plummet below freezing shortly after nightfall, dipping into the upper teens in some areas.
Chatham County declared a state of emergency Thursday morning. The county had 5,786 people without power at 7 a.m. Thursday, Chatham County Emergency Management Director Steve Newton said.
Dress warmly for the cold. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
Keep alternative heating sources and fire extinguishers on hand. Be sure your family knows how to use them.
Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep electric generators outside and away from open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Do not burn charcoal or use a grill indoors.
Use a NOAA Weather Radio or monitor local news for changing weather conditions.
Keep fresh batteries on hand for weather radios and flashlights.
If your pipes are uninsulated, keep faucets open to a slow drip to prevent pipes from freezing.
Keep pets inside, out of the cold.
Download the ReadyNC app for more winter weather preparedness information.
Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include a windshield scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first aid kit and road map.
Keep your cellphone charged.
Monitor fuel levels.
Clear your windshield and other windows of snow and ice before traveling.
Use headlights and windshield wipers.
Plan for delays and longer than usual travel times.
Increase your following distance and decrease your speed.
Choose several routes as some roadways may be closed.
Share your travel plans/routes with others.
Always be aware of your location in case you become stranded.
If your vehicle becomes disabled, stay inside the vehicle until help arrives.
Contact 911 or *HP in emergency situations only. Go to DriveNC.gov for roadway conditions.