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At A Glance: Storm dumps wintry mix statewide

Posted: Updated:
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Round two of a major winter storm is quickly bringing most of  North Carolina to a halt as a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain snarls traffic and raises the possibility of numerous power outages statewide.
   
Traffic cameras from major metropolitan areas like Charlotte and Raleigh show cars at a standstill on many roads. Back in 2005, a a winter storm resulted in a massive city-wide gridlock in Raleigh that left motorists stuck for hours and children stranded at schools.

“We’re now seeing what we have been warning people about for the past 24 hours. This storm is dangerous,” Governor Pat McCrory said. “Road conditions are treacherous in many areas. We can’t stress enough: stay tuned to local media and pay attention to the weather.  Do not travel unless it is an emergency. You are better off staying where you are in a safe place than getting on the road.”

Between midnight to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Highway Patrol troopers responded to 1,360 calls for service across the state.

By 3:30 pm, the utilities reported about 101,600 power outages statewide, mostly in New Hanover, Brunswick, Columbus and Pender counties. Accumulations of ice and snow could lead to outages in other areas as the storm continues to make its way across the state.  Ice accumulation is the greatest concern, as it can weigh down power lines and snap tree limbs, causing power outages.

In the event of an outage, an alternate heating source—such as a fireplace, propane space heater, or wood stove—may be used, but extreme caution should be taken. Do not use charcoal or a gas-powered oven for heating. If you use a portable generator to power a heating source, be sure the generator is located outside your house for proper ventilation. Do not use a generator in an attached garage. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for operating the generator.

The North Carolina National Guard now has about 170 guardsmen with Humvees co-located with local emergency managers to help rescue crews responding to calls. A number of these have been paired with troopers to respond to accident and stranded motorists.

Across eastern Carolina, a sloppy mix of precipitation, including freezing rain, sleet, and snow is falling. On Tuesday, the first round of the winter storm dumped dumped anywhere from a trace to up to a foot of snow in some places. Carteret County issued a state of emergency as did the city of Jacksonville.

Preliminary snow totals from across the region:

Half Moon (Onslow County) 3.5”
Arapahoe (Pamlico) 5”
Chinquipin (Duplin) 6.5”
Swan Quarter (Hyde) 5.5”
Okracoke 4.5”
Greenville 4”
Chocowinity/Washington 3”
New Bern 8”
Goldsboro 3"
James City 9"
Fairfield Harbour 9"
Richlands 5.5"
Buxton 4.5"
Englehard 8"

Road conditions across most of eastern Carolina are extremely treacherous. Highway Patrol, city police departments, and county deputies are urging motorists to avoid travel if possible.

"I recommend drivers do not drive unless they absolutely have to,” said Warren Wethington, NCDOT. “If you need to go out, you can call 511 and figure out the general road conditions."
 
Tuesday in Lenoir County, snow started falling as early as 10 a.m., blanketing Kinston with about 4 inches. Southern areas of the county saw more, including Pink Hill and Deep Run. NCDOT worked throughout the night to salt all major roads and make them safe for travel.

Forecasters said 10 inches of snow fell in New Bern, 12 inches in Fairfield Harbour. Roads in New Bern and Craven County were covered with snow and black ice. The iciest areas were bridges because of how quickly they lose heat.

Emergency crews spent most of the day Tuesday responding to more than 30 accidents throughout Craven County. The DOT is worked overtime plowing and salt brining primary roads.

Greenville and Pitt County saw about 4 inches of snow. Roads were mostly clear, but icy spots cropped up overnight.

Most schools and area businesses delayed opening or closed altogether. Get Closings and Delays information here.
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