Published: 2009-03-03 11:10:00
Updated: 2009-03-09 17:13:16
Posted March 3, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009
Raleigh, N.C. — The National Weather Service dropped its winter weather advisory Tuesday morning after conditions warmed enough to reduce the threat of black ice on roads.
Temperatures in the teens plus frozen runoff from Monday's snowstorm combined to create slick spots on the roads Tuesday morning, some of them causing serious problems. More than 400 schools and businesses delayed opening to allow road crews to treat the highways and streets or closed altogether.
The state's traffic alert system reported multiple crashes on Interstate 95 northbound in Wilson County around 6 a.m. Northbound traffic was blocked for a time at mile marker 120. It was was mostly cleared by 7 a.m., The state Department of Transportation's automated road-monitoring system still showed northbound traffic averaging 40 mph around the city of Wilson at 7:30.
In Chapel Hill, authorities reported black ice on:
Temperatures 20 degrees below normal for this time of year did not help the road situation, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. Secondary roads, access ramps to major roads and bridges were the places ice was most likely to form.
Not all ice problems were on the roads, either. One reader in Mebane said she had to chisel ice from the bottom of her garage door after melting snow from her car tires ran across the garage floor overnight and froze the door to the floor.
In Wake County, a skeleton crew worked overnight and spread a sand-salt mixture on problem areas, officials said. Sand provides traction, and salt melts ice.
Chapel Hill officials said that all of the town's streets were passable Monday, but transit services could experience some delays due to road conditions Tuesday. Town workers spread 55 tons of salt on roadways Monday, officials said.
The Neuse River rose above flood stage in Johnston County Monday night. The river could cause minor flooding through Wednesday morning. At flood stage, the Neuse reaches the base of a 1 million-gallon water treatment plant in Smithfield.
Temperatures turn around by mid-week
An Arctic air mass will stick around North Carolina for at least one more day, but after it moves out, the cold weather will make a dramatic turnaround.
Temperatures will struggle to rise more than a few degrees above freezing Tuesday, and then "clear skies, light winds and a little leftover snow could make for a very cold night," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.
Wednesday will still be a little chilly, with a high in the upper 40s, but then the Arctic air moves out completely – and warm, southwesterly breezes flow in.
"The really good stuff gets here on Thursday as we get into the 60s and then 70s Friday and Saturday," Fishel said.
"It's going to be like a completely different season from Monday to Friday," Gardner said.
Snow driving tips
The Highway Patrol offered these tips to help drivers navigate slick roads.