Rain and relatively warm air will envelope the Triangle on Tuesday, washing away all traces of the sleet and freezing rain that closed schools and caused a rash of accidents across the region Monday.
The warm air will be a little later getting to Orange County and points north and west, which remain under a winter weather warning through 7 a.m. Tuesday. Freezing rain is likely in those areas through the evening, before warmer temperatures turn it all to rain sometime overnight. Durham and Orange County schools officials decided late Monday to delay the start of classes by 2 hours Tuesday morning.
But elsewhere in the Triangle, the National Weather Service weather advisories were allowed to expire Monday, as temperatures rose above freezing shortly after sundown. Forecasters expected temperatures to keep going up through the night, topping 50 degrees by morning in many places. No other Triangle school districts had announced any delays as of Monday evening.
The rain is expected to become heavier overnight, with thunderstorms possible Tuesday morning and gusty winds out of the South. Highs during the day could reach 60.
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It will be a marked change from the ice and cold that greeted people Monday morning. Some Raleigh police officers characterized Interstate 495 on the city’s east side as “a total mess” where ice made even walking tough. At times, enough vehicles were stuck or in crashes that it became almost impossible to untangle the snarls.
Early on in many places, roads looked fine but were slick with rain that was hitting cold pavement and freezing.
“There’s a false sense of security because it’s just raining” at times, ABC11 meteorologist Don Schwenneker said. Some of those with unwarranted confidence were behind the wheel of four-wheel-drive vehicles that have no advantage on ice, Schwenneker said.
State troopers and local police were kept busy attending to crashes that included jack-knifed tractor-trailers and a Go Raleigh bus that was sideways on the Neuse River bridge on I-495, they reported.
Chatham County first-responders were dispatched to a multiple-car wreck on the U.S. 15-501 bridge over the Haw River. Numerous other fender-benders were reported throughout the Triangle, though no serious injuries.
Tuesday’s relative warmth is just a preview of things to come, forecasters say. The National Weather Service expects the sun to return Wednesday, with temperatures in the mid-50s. After a brief shot of cold air late Wednesday, temperatures will rebound again, reaching the mid-60s or higher under sunny skies over the weekend.