Numerous accidents reported as roads froze


Department of Transportation crews started spreading salt and sand on some roads and intersections Thursday, trying to prevent problems where they could. However, as temperatures dropped past freezing Friday morning, wet roads began to icy up quickly.

Around 5:30 a.m., a police officer in Durham crashed after hitting a frozen spot on the southbound ramp of U.S. Highway 15-501, near University Drive. Two sand trucks were brought to the area, but they also had trouble keeping traction on the ramp.

Hours later, a car overturned and caught fire on Interstate 40 at N.C. Highway 55 near Davis Drive due to slick conditions. Lanes were closed in the area as fire fighters worked to put the blaze out. A leaking fuel tank later brought out HAZMAT, which slowed down traffic even more.

In Wake County around 7 a.m., a truck overturned on an icy bridge on the U.S. Highway 64 East Bypass at South New Hope Road. The driver was apparently trapped in the cab before EMS arrived. The highway had to be shut down due to the accident.

A multi-car accident on I-40 between I-540 and Airport Boulevard was also blamed on slick roads and traffic backups.

While the greater Triangle didn't get much snow accumulation, areas like Person County towards the Virginia border saw much more significant amounts. The National Weather Service reported as much as five inches in places.

Meteorologists said the greatest snow amounts statewide were to the west and north. There were 7 inches reported in Newland in Avery County. Two to 3 inches were reported in the Winston-Salem and Greensboro areas.

The major electric utilities reported more than 14,000 customers without power early Friday. Nearly 8,000 of those without service were in the Winston-Salem and Greensboro areas.

The storm was preceded by rains that caused nearly 60 landslides in western North Carolina.

The snow began melting after daybreak Friday as temperatures climbed into the 40s.

A clear sky will help temperatures drop off into the middle 20s Friday night, then high pressure will promote sunshine and moderating temperatures Saturday and Sunday. We should be up near 50 for a high Saturday, then into the middle and perhaps upper 50s Sunday.

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