Local News

Wintry Mix Expected for Thursday Commute

Posted January 17, 2007

— Winter weather advisories have been issued for the Triangle area, as meteorologists predicted a frozen wintry mix of precipitation would cross central North Carolina early Thursday morning.

A cold front that made its way into the state Tuesday dropped temperatures and led the way for cold air that will be present for several days. Forecasters were watching for developments Wednesday night. Increasing moisture in the atmosphere and temperatures in the mid to upper 20's could be troublesome.

The Triangle may see a mixture of freezing rain and snow Thursday morning before the system moves to the north Thursday afternoon. The freezing rain potential should last until about lunchtime, then rain will continue through the afternoon.

The National Weather Service issued Winter Weather Advisories that will be in effect through noon. The advisories covered 68 of the state's 100 counties by 11 p.m.

WRAL WeatherScope predicts that the light, mixed precipitation will begin between 7 and 9 a.m. Special WRAL WeatherCenter coverage is scheduled to begin at 4:30 a.m. to show weather and road conditions throughout the area.

Warm ground will prevent anything freezing to the roads, but elevated surfaces could see some light ice buildup if the rain arrives early enough.

North Carolina Department of Transportation crews were pre-treating some primary highways, bridges and overpasses Wednesday afternoon to help keep them from freezing. Elevated roads freeze when they are surrounded by cold air, even if the ground near them doesn't allow freezing.

The DOT primarily uses salt brine, a mixture of water and 23 percent salt that can be applied to road surfaces before a storm to keep ice from bonding to the road. The department has about 300,000 gallons of brine on hand.

It will be North Carolina's first taste of the icy weather that has been making life difficult for people in the Midwest in recent days.

The icy storm blamed for at least 60 deaths in nine states spread snow and freezing rain across Texas all the way to the Mexican border Wednesday, closing the Alamo, glazing freeways and immobilizing communities unaccustomed to such cold.

Accumulations were light by many regions' standards - the Dallas area topped out at a half-inch of snow, and more than 3 inches piled up west of Fort Worth. But hundreds of airline flights were canceled, tens of thousands of electricity customers lost power and a 300-mile stretch of Interstate 10, a major east-west highway that cuts through the state, was closed.

In California, three nights of freezing weather had destroyed up to three-quarters of the state's $1 billion citrus crop, according to an estimate issued Monday. Other crops, including avocados and strawberries, also suffered damage.

WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said the system that has swept across the Midwest won't bring the precipitation to North Carolina. Rather, moisture is being brought in from the south and off the Atlantic Ocean, she said. It will run into cold air from Canada, causing the mixed precipitation.

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  • BLA BLA BLA Jan 18, 2007

    mm, just think about the Spanish People who never drove in it out there driving in it with you. This cat is staying home.

  • readyrider2000 Jan 18, 2007

    Sorry guys, just going to fire up the hummer and go driving.

  • BIG YAWN Jan 17, 2007

    Wow, there's so many heated debaters over this subject. Like spiritwarriorwoman I lived all over the country too. From Clearwater, Fl to Va. to Mi. to San Fran, San Diego and Alaska. I don't care where you go there's bad drivers. I have to laugh everytime I hear some one say "man people around here can't drive". Mainly because it's been said every where I lived. If you want to see some sorry driving live in San Diego on the first rainy day in 187 days. It's so slick, motorcyclist fall over at red lights because their feet slip out from underneath them. It's bumper to bumper and no slowing down. I was stationed on a military ship at the time. I didn't even bother trying to get home. I just stayed on board over night.

  • Execution Style Jan 17, 2007

    we've lived a week without electricity when they were calling for a dusting. Don't dis the people who buy bread "just in case!" I'm not getting out there if it even looks like it's coming - never had a wreck in the ice or snow. :)

  • no screen name Jan 17, 2007

    crap, I gotta go get milk and bread!

    and heck, I better get some OJ as well before the price on it goes sky high!


  • cherokee43v6 Jan 17, 2007

    Had a friend from Denver when I was a student at NCSU... After the second ice storm, he gave up driving in any kind of frozen precip around here.

    It wasn't that he didn't know the difference between snow and ice, it was that there was an inch and a half of snow hidding the 1/4" sheet of ice...

    Personally, I love driving in the snow. But Ice... stay home and leave it alone!

    BTW For many drivers around here, all 4WD is good for is getting them stuck where no-one can get them out. Stay in 2WD until you get stuck, use 4WD to get unstuck, then go on in 2WD. If your vehicle is AWD, drive it like you are already stuck! (go away from the deep/steep stuff)

  • BLA BLA BLA Jan 17, 2007

    Hmm, hope it doesnt cause a gridlock as a few "other" small systems have.

  • kaykay12 Jan 17, 2007

    "crissydoll" you are an idiot.

  • dcannon001 Jan 17, 2007

    I am from Raleigh... born and raised. I have lived in Pittsburgh, PA. There are a few differences. 1st, in PA they have alot more equiptment clearing Snow off the roads. 2nd.. it is Snow, not Ice. Yes, you can drive in the snow. No, you cannot drive on ice... I don't care how good you think you are... face it, if you can barely walk on it how do you expect to drive on it? There is a diff. between powdery crunchy snow, and glazed black ice. Be carefull!

  • lisarich Jan 17, 2007

    Maybe asking Al Gore is a good idea as I don't think he ever said that. "Inconvenient Truth" is worth the watch. Whether you agree or disagree with him, everyone should hear BOTH sides of the issue.