Advice from an ice accident victim: ‘This weather is not a joke. Please drive slowly and carefully’
A warning to watch out for remaining snow and ice from Wednesday’s storm covered the Triangle on Friday morning while road crews again spread salt and sand on major highways.
Black ice that formed overnight after snow melted Thursday was a particular hazard.
Police said black ice appeared to be to blame for a wreck that closed one lane in each direction on the Durham Freeway (N.C. 147) near South Briggs Avenue.
The National Weather Service posted a winter weather advisory through noon in all area counties because of the road conditions.
“Ice and snow-covered roads will create dangerous travel conditions through midday,” forecasters said.
Temperatures were in the low 20s at 5 a.m. Readings in the high 40s are on tap for the afternoon, however, and the weather service predicted “a pleasant trend to see over the next several days.”
The winter storm, which dumped nearly a foot of snow in some areas by Thursday morning, is blamed for the death of at least one person.
A wreck killed a driver who ran off a road in Washington County on Thursday morning, said Keith Acree, a Department of Public Safety spokesman.
A wrong-way crash that killed two person and injured a third on Interstate 40 in Raleigh late Thursday did not appear to be weather-related, police said.
The road’s westbound side remained closed until early Friday morning, however, and water used by firefighters at the crash created an icing problem.
The N.C. Department of Transportation said Friday that interstates and primary roads were generally clear but could have ice that formed overnight. Conditions varied from county to county on U.S. and major state roads, and on secondary roads, DOT said.
DOT spokesman Steve Abbott said the focus in Wake County and surrounding areas has shifted to secondary roads that are still covered or partially covered.
“We hope to plow and/or salt as many secondary roads as possible today,” Abbott said, noting there are 4,305 lane miles of secondary roads in Wake County. “What we don’t get today, we will work on Saturday. We will be greatly aided by the temperature approaching the 50s and the sunshine.”
The State 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.
Although sunshine and warmer temperatures will help clear some snow, state officials and the weather service warned that snow and ice that melts Friday could freeze again overnight, potentially creating more dangerous driving conditions Saturday morning.
Any improvement on roadways will “quickly revert,” the weather service said, adding that temperatures are expected to plummet below freezing shortly after nightfall, dipping into the upper teens in some areas.
DOT crews prioritized primary roads Thursday, including highways, and will move on to secondary roads based on traffic volume. Crews will work mostly on secondary roads on Friday, Cooper said.
The latest road conditions can be found at drivenc.gov.
A state of emergency declared by Gov. Roy Cooper statewide on Tuesday remained in effect until further notice.
Closings and delays
Schools around the area were closed for a third day Friday.
County and local government offices that had been largely shut down by the storm were scheduled to reopen gradually, with most posting two- or three-hour delays.
Duke University said classes would remain canceled until 10 a.m. Friday. North Carolina State University said its classrooms would reopen at 8 a.m.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said it would remain in snow mode, with classes canceled, until noon.
Although Friday night will drop down below freezing with lows in the mid-20s, Saturday, Sunday and Monday will get progressively warmer, according to the weather service.
Saturday’s high will reach 55 and Sunday could hit 60. By Monday, we should be in the low 60s before temperatures begin to slowly drop back into the 50s.
Lows will remain chilly, though should be at or above freezing through Wednesday.
Monday night will bring a chance of showers, but the rest of the week is expected to be sunny.
▪ 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.