Published: 2015-01-14 03:45:00
Updated: 2015-01-14 22:27:38
Posted January 14, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — As temperatures drop below freezing overnight Wednesday, roads damp with moisture have the possibility of freezing, creating black ice and potentially dangerous driving conditions for the Thursday morning commute.
“The word of the night – cautious,” WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said. “Be very cautious if you’re going to go outside.”
Schools in Wake, Durham, Orange, Johnston, Franklin, Vance, Person, Wayne and Wilson counties, as well as Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, will start two hours late Thursday as a precaution. Warren County Schools will be closed Thursday.
In Wake, school leaders consult with weather forecasts, local agencies and law enforcement before deciding whether to delay or close school, said Lisa Luten, Wake schools spokeswoman.
"It was determined that there is a possible icing of secondary roads and isolated areas overnight," she said. "These possible conditions would make it unsafe to travel to school in the early morning."
District transportation staff will assess roads throughout the county, starting at 3 a.m., Luten said.
Drizzle and mist fell across Wake County on Wednesday evening, and with temperatures expected to drop below freezing, black ice could form on roads, Maze said.
"The combination of any lingering water or moisture on roadways from this afternoon could refreeze this evening and cause patchy areas of black ice, especially on elevated surfaces, such as bridges and overpasses," Orange County officials said in a statement.
Clouds and fog are expected overnight before the Triangle experiences a brief bout of sunshine Thursday morning. Clouds will return by lunchtime Thursday, bringing light rain throughout the afternoon and into the evening, Maze said.
"Be very careful when you head out at the start of the day," he said.
Thursday’s high is expected to reach 46 degrees.
But things will get warmer. Temperatures will reach the mid-50s Friday and Saturday under sunny skies.
Thursday’s weather follows a slick Wednesday morning where the N.C. State Highway Patrol responded to more than 50 collision reports in Wake County between 4:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Raleigh police officers responded to 40 crashes between midnight and 11 a.m. That's nearly four times the number of crashes compared with the same period a week ago, police spokesman Jim Sughrue said.
One of the worst tie-ups came when a Wake County Public School System fuel truck overturned on Interstate 40 at Gorman Street at about 7 a.m. Westbound lanes were closed through 10 a.m., and police detoured drivers off the highway, onto Gorman Street and back to I-40.
Elevated highways, bridges and outlying roads with less traffic saw a greater likelihood of ice glazing on roads and slip-and-slide crashes.
All Wake County school buses made it to school safely Wednesday morning, but the routes were running slow. District officials said there were significant delays, with some students waiting 30 minutes or more for their buses to arrive.
A district spokeswoman said bus drivers were asked to use an abundance of caution, and that, along with traffic jams, contributed to the buses moving slower than normal.