Black ice concerns as roads refreeze

December 28, 2010 4:22:25 AM PST
Snow, slush and water refroze on Triangle roads overnight, making for slick spots for Tuesday's morning commute.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for much of the state until noon.

Click here for the latest advisory and warnings

State officials say secondary roads are really the big concern with black ice forming on bridges as well as on neighborhood streets.

"Interstates and primary routes, we spend a whole lot of time on them yesterday and we're prety pleased with what they looked like during the morning commute today," said Steve Halsey with the NC DOT on Monday. "Had a few areas, around some on and off ramps, where we've had some of the slick snow and slush still remain, melted a little bit and that could potntially be a problem overnight or if the temperateres get into the teens like they're calling for."

A North Carolina Highway Patrol spokeswoman said Monday troopers responded to more than 150 calls for help since midnight. That's after Sunday's nearly 2,400 calls --about four times more than normal.

Four people have died in traffic accidents across the state, including 6-year-old Jace Cole who died around 9 p.m. Sunday night on Highway 70 just south of Clayton. Troopers say the truck he was riding in hit a patch of ice, lost control and flipped several times.

Sunday, as much as 13 inches of snow fell in areas northeast of the Triangle along the Interstate 95 corridor. Parts of Raleigh saw eight inches, and up to seven inches were seen near the coast and at Fayetteville.

The 7 inches seen at RDU is the most in a single snowfall since 2002.

Thousands of Carolinas residents were still without power after the storm. Duke Energy reported 2,800 in both states, with nearly 1,300 of those in Cherokee County, S.C. About 12,000 Progress Energy customers in North Carolina were without power Monday morning.

State Highway Patrol and emergency management officials said their biggest concern is patches of black ice.

"We know many people are traveling for the holidays and we want everyone to be extremely cautious,” said state Emergency Management Director Doug Hoell.

Motorists are urged to remain a safe distance behind snow plows and salt spreaders to give workers ample room.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol also recommends the following precautions for driving in the snow and ice:

· Reduce your speed. Driving at the regular speed limit will reduce your ability to control the car if you begin to slide.

· Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles.

· Bridges and overpasses accumulate ice first. Approach them with extreme caution and do not apply your brakes while on the bridge.

· If you do begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel IN THE DIRECTION OF THE SLIDE. Do NOT apply the brakes - as that will cause further loss of control of the car.

Travelers passing through the Raleigh-Durham International Airport have also been impacted by the storm.

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