Black ice warning for morning commuters

March 3, 2009 4:50:01 AM PST
After a day to play in the snow, the question is how bad will the ice be Tuesday morning?The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for black ice, in effect until 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning for several counties across the state.

Wet and slushy roads will freeze overnight in these areas as temperatures rapidly drop. This will result in widespread areas of black ice.

The DOT says for commuters' safety, motorists are advised to limit travel as much as possible.

The concern is what will happen overnight when temperatures plunge and any water lingering on the pavement could freeze.

"That's one of our concerns. With the forecasted temperatures being down into the teens the next couple of nights, you know, how much moisture and water we do have on the roadways and how that's going to effect the morning commutes today and tomorrow," said Jason Holmes with the NC DOT.

The Department of Transportation has been out salting roads - especially the potential slick spots that may freeze over Monday night. The Highway Patrol says everyone needs to be careful out there. Tow truck drivers said they were getting lots of calls from motorists who had ended up in ditches or medians.

"I've seen a lot of cars in the ditches because of the excessive speeding," said Michael Beasley with Dave's Towaway. "They are saying the roads are slicker than they thought. They were driving too fast, and when you hit your brakes you are gonna slide."

Click here for the latest traffic warnings and delays.

Runways at Raleigh-Durham International Airport are open and flights are taking off. However, the winter storm in the northeast is impacting flights. Airlines serving RDU have canceled more than 50 flights scheduled for this morning. Many of these are destined to or arriving from Washington D.C., New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Hundreds of area schools, businesses and churches were closed Monday due to the winter weather. Some districts have already announced delays and closings for Tuesday.

Click here for a list of closing in the area.

The National Weather Service says snow totals ranged from 12 inches in Saluda in Polk County to 6 inches in Charlotte and High Point to 3 inches in Raleigh.

Roxboro - towards the Virginia border - had about 7 inches by Monday morning, while Raleigh and Durham had a more moderate 2 to 3 inches.

Down towards Fayetteville got significantly less with .25 to .50 inches in some places.

Heavy snow and freezing rain pulled down trees on to power lines. Duke Energy (click here for more outage information by county) reported more than 179,000 customers without electricity at one point Monday. It said crews were working to restore power as fast as possible.

Progress Energy (click here for more outage information) reported more than 5,300 customers lost service.

The good news was the cold weather won't stick around long. There will be a fast warm-up towards the end of the week with highs expected near 70.

Click here to read the ABC11 weather blog.

The last time it snowed this late in the year in North Carolina was on March 1, 1980, when at least 6 inches fell.


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