RALEIGH, N.C. – As the worst of the winter storm hits North Carolina, state transportation officials are urging people to stay off the roads because travel could be dangerous.

“Even after the storm passes, we ask North Carolinians to be patient as our crews and emergency responders do their important work to clear the roads,” State Transportation Secretary J. Eric Boyette said Sunday. “Everyone should avoid driving in these conditions. There’s no need to take any unnecessary risks.”

More than 2,000 N.C. Department of Transportation crews and contractors with more than 1,800 trucks and other motorized equipment have been working around the clock to get roads clear across the state. Crews are targeting interstates and major highways first and then transitioning to primary and secondary roads. In western North Carolina, crews worked overnight and are continuing to plow snow-covered roads. Crews in central North Carolina, including the Charlotte area, have been salting trouble spots on roads and bridges since early this morning.

NCDOT’s de-icing operations staff have been busy overnight through today. They have used more than 5,800 tons of salt and 550 tons of a salt/sand mixture and those numbers will continue to increase.

While temperatures are expected to warm and some thawing is possible, the water on roads will refreeze tonight and make travel dangerous in western and central North Carolina. The storm is bringing heavy rainfall with potential flooding and strong winds to much of eastern North Carolina.

“Travel conditions are expected to be treacherous for much of the state through Monday,” said NCDOT’s Chief Operating Officer Beau Memory. “Please stay home and don’t take the chance of driving, especially on icy or flooded roads.”

There have been scattered reports of downed trees or power lines. As reports will likely increase Sunday, NCDOT crews are ready with chainsaws and heavy equipment to cut and shove any downed trees.

Due to dangerous winds, NCDOT temporarily suspended its three Pamlico Sound ferry routes to Ocracoke and scaled back operations on its Cherry Branch-Minnesott Beach and Southport-Fort Fisher routes. Due to the high winds and low water, the Currituck-Knotts Island Ferry is suspending operations until conditions improve.