Freezing temps raise questions for Thursday's commute

Posted December 14, 2010
Updated December 15, 2010

— With temperatures hovering around the freezing mark in the Triangle, the forecast of "light snow, sleet and freezing rain" on Thursday raises questions for commuters.

WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said such a long cold spell is unusual in this area in December.

"Because it's so cold and the ground's so cold, it won't take a lot of precipitation to cause problems on the road Thursday morning," said WRAL meteorologist Nate Johnson.

The "bitter cold" is expected to continue Tuesday evening and into Wednesday morning, but Wednesday should be less windy with a high of 38.

Current Temperatures, DMA Temperature Tracker

North Carolina Dept. of Transportation crews are gearing up for the possibility of icy conditions. They started laying a pre-treatment brine solution -- a mixture of water and salt -- to Interstate 40 and Interstate 440 Tuesday.

"In an ideal world, when the snow does come in, and we have the brine applied to the roadways, when traffic and everything starts to melt that snow, it'll keep the ice that would ultimately form... from bonding to the pavement," said Steve Halsey, a DOT engineer.

For road crews and others who work outdoors -- from baggage handlers at the airport to construction workers -- Tuesday's chill was all in a day's work.

James Maye and Keith Mosley, public works supervisors for the city of Durham, bundle up to fight the cold, but there's only so much they can do to stay warm and dry.

Their crew is tasked with making the brine solution that is used to keep ice from forming on the roads.

Maye said the city provides hats to keep workers warm, and Mosley said working in the equivalent of an icebox doesn't bother him.

"We do it every year, no matter how cold it gets. We've got a job to do," he said.

Michael Notte, manager of Bunkey's car wash in Durham, said it's tough washing cars in this weather, but business is good as people get ready to travel for the holidays.

"The wind, when it picks up, and having to handle the wet towels and being around the water ... It's a little disheartening, but you know, it's good. Business is good, you know, if we are washing cars, we are happy," Notte said.

Sky 5 shoots DOT on 40 DOT gets ready for icy roads

Friday will be mainly cloudy with some spotty light rain or drizzle and a high of 43 degrees.

Saturday will be cloudy and chilly at 40 degrees with a possibility of some rain or snow.

Sunday will be partly cloudy, breezy and cold with a high of 39 degrees.

Log on to Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. to chat LIVE with the Channel 5 weather team.


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  • mikeyj Dec 14, 2010

    anne53; There is ALWAYS a bright side. Bless you!

  • GoGreen Dec 14, 2010

    The stupidity of the brine truck driving down 40 during rush hour is beyond comprehension.

  • rescuefan Dec 14, 2010

    "Where is all that Global Warming that Algore was telling us about. I wish it would get here.

    Just can't let it go, can you? You're the Time4Real of Global Warming. And just as amusing.

    It would be cool if we got some more snow. Saturday looks like there might be something else going on.

  • chfdcpt Dec 14, 2010

    Remember the snow fall formula:

    4 loafs of bread per person in the household per each inch in the forecast.

    2 gallons of milk per person in the household per each inch in the forecast.

    2 dozen eggs per person in the household per each inch in the forecast.

    The difference is that you'se up north have snow fall. Here, we have the mandatory 1/4 inch of freezing rain, whatever amount of snow, and the mandatory 1/4 inch of freezing rain to top it off.

  • raliegh_nc_florist Dec 14, 2010

    It gets cold during the winter this is no surprise.

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Dec 14, 2010

    If brids need water tell them to poke a hole in the ice. We ain't worried about BIRDS!

  • anne53ozzy Dec 14, 2010

    Anyway...I have a full pantry and am baking bread. Life goes on as does winter weather. Be happy you do not have to mow the lawn or fight the bugs!

  • mom2boys Dec 14, 2010

    LOL @ Waiting for my tax...

    I was just thinking the exact same thing!!! ha!!!

    I REALLY need a snow day tho! ;)

  • anne53ozzy Dec 14, 2010

    to "waiting for my tax..." What the heck are you talking about....Temps do generally rise around here when moisture is coming in..."10 degrees for a week" HUH? Are we having a bad day? Not Greg's fault.

  • anne53ozzy Dec 14, 2010

    dwr1964 I have heard this for decades from people who moved here from colder climes. State taxes are committed to a number of pertinent items related to weather and other issues. In Montana, for example, I would expect the state to allocate considerable funds for road maintenance in winter. DUHHH. We do not do that here. However, the next time a hurricane is bearing down on us, would you mind asking MO to transfer some $$$ for that? Delta is ready when you are, by the way....