Blog: White Christmas coats Triangle

Posted December 25, 2010 9:36 p.m. EST
Updated October 12, 2011 9:51 a.m. EDT

9:07 p.m. Motorists urged to use extreme caution as winds pick up

The North Carolina Highway Patrol said although road conditions improved throughout the afternoon Sunday, they were expected to deteriorate again after nightfall.

“Commuters returning to work during the next few days need to be especially cautious,” said State Emergency Management Director Doug Hoell. “If you must be on the roads early in the morning, be sure to check the traffic forecast and driving conditions before heading out.”

As temperatures fall overnight, black ice is more likely to develop.

Wind speeds are also expected to reach dangerous levels Monday, especially in the western part of the state. People in the Triangle can expect winds between 20 and 35 miles per hour, which may increase power outages in the area, according to a statement from the Highway Patrol.

9:00 p.m. Over 20,000 still without power

Progress Energy reported that as of Sunday evening, 22,412 customers were still without electricity.

Outages were highest in Johnston and Robeson counties, with 5,179 and 4,456 without power, respectively. Wake County wasn't too far behind with 3,978 customers still experiencing the power outage.

Progress Energy said they are working as hard as they can to restore power, but they couldn't predict when all customers' electricity would be back up and running.

Outages were still effecting people in following counties as well: Chatham, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Moore, Sampson, Vance, Wayne and Wilson.

8:15 p.m. Wrecks close major routes

State troopers closed northbound lanes of Interstate 95 at milemarker 98 near Selma after four wrecks were reported in the area.

In Durham County, the ramp from U.S. Highway 70 to Interstate 85 north was closed and expected to remain closed until about 9 p.m.

7:15 p.m. Winter wonderland after dark

Christmas light displays across the Triangle took on a more traditional feel coated in snow Sunday night. 

After sunset, the sledding stopped for some, but people continued to share photos of the fun.

6:55 p.m. Families share snow cream recipes

After dark fell Sunday and the sledding was done, viewer Kyle Kilborn recommended snow cream. The traditional winter weather treat uses snow, milk and additions in a sweet, ice cream-like mixture.

Kilborn wrote, "Add family board and card games and you have a great winter family affair!"

Recipes for snow cream can vary. Here are a few of those submitted by our viewers.        

5:45 p.m. Wake, Durham counties prepare for Monday morning commute

For those returning to work on Monday or those simply headed home from a holiday visit, the snow still on North Carolina roads could cause headaches.

Black ice a threat for Monday morning

Wake County declared a state of emergency and Durham delayed recycling pick-up schedule Monday morning. County offices and libraries in both places already had a holiday scheduled for Monday.

4 p.m. Weather advisories extended

The National Weather Service extended Winter Weather Advisories for most of eastern North Carolin through noon on Monday.

An additional half-inch of snow could fall on top of already slick road surfaces, making travel treacherous through at least noon, the weather service said.

Weather Alerts

3:30 p.m. Air travel may not return to normal for days

Some airlines were telling travelers at Raleigh-Durham International Airport that flights were not expected to be back on schedule until Tuesday. The snow that dumped on North Carolina Saturday into Sunday was moving up the East Coast and most major population centers there were under blizzard advisories. 

Forecasters issued a blizzard warning for New York City for Sunday and Monday, with a forecast of 11 to 16 inches of snow and strong winds that will reduce visibility to near zero at times. A blizzard warning was also in effect for Rhode Island and most of eastern Massachusetts including Boston, with forecasters predicting 15 to 20 inches of snow. A blizzard warning is issued when snow is accompanied by sustained winds or gusts over 35 mph.

As much as 18 inches could fall on the New Jersey shore with wind gusts over 40 mph.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter declared a snow emergency as of 2 p.m. Sunday, and he urged residents to stay off the roads.

Snow started falling around New York City late Sunday morning, by which time nearly 1,000 flights out of the region's three major airports had already been canceled in anticipation of the storm. More cancellations were expected.

3 p.m. DOT calls travel 'treacherous'

Road conditions improved somewhat Sunday after snow stopped falling, but freezing temperatures overnight could mean patches of black ice will form.

“We know many people are traveling for the holidays and we want everyone to be extremely cautious,” said state Emergency Management Director Doug Hoell. “Anyone who is thinking of driving during the next few days, should pay careful attention to the weather and traffic forecasts before heading out.”

2:20 p.m. Viewers share snow day stories

Users of WRAL's GOLO online community shared photos and ideas for spending a day snowed in. 

A viewer in Cary wrote: "It's Oh Fishel – I am not going anywhere anytime soon."

Another wrote: "Thanks to the weather we were unable to get to the beach to have Christmas with my parents...At this rate it will be Wednesday before we get down there to have some 'Holly Jolly.'"

2:05 p.m. Some people without power

Progress Energy was reporting more than 16,000 customers without power in Wake County and more than 11,000 in Johnston as a result of the snow.

Check the outage map to see if your neighborhood is among them.

1:44 p.m. Photos flood WRAL newsroom

Last February, the Triangle saw snow and ice over a three-day weekend and more than 5,000 photos were submitted by our viewers. We could see a new record this week. The photos were arriving at more than 100 per hour Saturday afternoon. 

You can see the best of them here.

Report It: Share news, photos, video

1:30 p.m. NCDOT plans late afternoon update

A Wake County maintenance engineer answer questions about the winter weather plan for Wake County at 3 p.m. this afternoon.

WRAL will be there and have updates online and on TV.

1 p.m. Birds-eye view shows highways passable

Sky 5 flew west from Raleigh-Durham International Airport Saturday afternoon on a tour of snow accumulation.

Most major highways had lanes clear and slushy, but white stuff coated trees, homes and yards for as far as the eye could see.

11:30 a.m. Tree damages north Raleigh home

An oak tree laden with snow toppled onto the roof of a home on Windjammer Drive in north Raleigh.

Homeowner Henry Liberatore said he was unsure if the limbs actually went through the roof of a two-story addition he and his wife are putting on their home, but the crash of the tree on the roof awakened them early Sunday.

11:10 a.m. Carolina Hurricanes game on schedule

The Carolina Hurricanes will play their 7 p.m. game Sunday against the Washington Capitals as scheduled, team officials said. The pre-game fan skate has been canceled.

Fans who can't attend the game because of the snow can exchange their unused tickets for tickets of equal or lesser value to a game later this season.

10:55 a.m. National Guard to assist with storm recovery

North Carolina National Guard soldiers have been called to state active duty to assist with winter storm operations.

Thirty-four soldiers reported late Saturday to armories in Butner, Rocky Mount, Elizabeth City, Winterville and Mount Olive. Soldiers will help provide transportation, recovery or other missions as required by the state Division of Emergency Management and emergency response officials.

Each location will have two Humvees and four guardsmen to assist in operations. The Humvee teams, mainly from the 514th and 1132nd Military Police Companies of 60th Troop Command, are based out of Winterville and Rocky Mount. Support personnel from the 113th Sustainment Brigade and 130th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade will open armories for the teams.

How long the guardsmen stay on duty will depend on the need, but soldiers are preparing to stay on duty for three days, officials said.

10:30 a.m. Flight cancellations mount

Delta Airlines has canceled 850 flights up and down the East Coast, and Continental Airlines has canceled 250 flights. Blizzard warnings have been issued from New York through New England, affecting airports like New York LaGuardia, Newark and Boston's Logan.

Delays also are expected in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Some flights from the Triangle to Florida also have been canceled because the planes are stranded at various airports and can't get to Raleigh-Durham International Airport, officials said.

10:15 a.m. Snow delays N.C. State marching band

The North Carolina State University marching band had to postpone its departure for the Champs Sports Bowl from Sunday until Monday morning because of the snow.

The band will catch an 11 a.m. Monday flight to Orlando, Fla., for the Tuesday night game between the Wolfpack and the West Virginia Mountaineers, band director Paul Garcia said. The band will return to Raleigh on Wednesday evening instead of Wednesday morning to give members some free time in Orlando, he said.

9:40 a.m. Cary dispatches pickups to plow subdivisions

Cary has about 200 people trying to clear streets in the town, including a "strike force" of pickup trucks that are plowing roads in various subdivisions, Cary spokeswoman Susan Moran said.

Moran urged Cary residents to stay at home and wait for the plows to clear as many roads as possible before heading out.

9 a.m. Wreck numbers mount as people venture out

Snow continued to fall as people began to stir Sunday morning, and the mix led to a growing number of wrecks across the region.

The Highway Patrol reported 128 wrecks since midnight in Troop C, which includes Wake County. Many of the wrecks were vehicles that had slid off the side of a road, authorities said.

8:15 a.m. Residents across region report heavy snowfall

Despite official readings of about 3 inches of snow across the Triangle, some residents reported up to 10 inches by Sunday morning.

Ten inches was reported in Nashville, 7 inches in Harnett County, 6 inches in Fayetteville, Scotland Neck and Spring Hope, and 4 inches in Hillsborough and Cameron.

7:40 a.m. Mall hours delayed

Don't rush out to the mall Sunday morning in search of post-Christmas sales. The snow has some shopping centers adjusting their hours.

Crabtree Valley Mall will be open from 11 a.m. till 6 p.m. Sunday instead of its planned 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. hours, spokeswoman Sandra Guiest said. Hours for department stores and restaurants might vary, she said.

The Streets at Southpoint mall in Durham also was on an 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. schedule on Sunday, according to the mall's website.

Meanwhile, Triangle Town Center in Raleigh opened at 10 a.m. as scheduled, but the mall was closing at 5 p.m. instead of 7 p.m., spokeswoman Jennifer Jones said.

Target stores at North Hills and on Walnut Street in Cary opened at 7 a.m.

7:05 a.m. Rough going on I-95

A WRAL News crew reports that salt trucks and plows are working on Interstate 95 and U.S. Highway 64 in Nash County, but snow is sticking to both roads, making it rough to travel.

About a dozen cars were in ditches across Edgecombe County, according to the Highway Patrol.

6:20 a.m. Power outages reported across region

Snow on trees and power lines has caused scattered power outages across central North Carolina.

Progress Energy's website reports that about 1,000 customers are without power in northern Wake County, another 1,000 are out in Fayetteville and about 2,000 customers are out in Southern Pines.

All told, Progress Energy had more than 21,000 customers without power in 255 outages. The utility expected to have power restored to the hardest-hit areas by 9 a.m.

Duke Power reported more than 29,000 customers without power, with about one-third of those in Forsyth County.

6:10 a.m. Airlines canceling flights

United Airlines and Continental Airlines say winter weather stretching up the East Coast has canceled and will delay flights to their respective hubs at Washington-Dulles and Newark, N.J.

The airlines and Raleigh-Durham International Airport recommend that travelers call their airlines to check on the status of their flights before heading to the airport.

6 a.m. DOT says snow good for plowing

The state Department of Transportation has crews clearing and treating major roads and highways across the region. Officials say the powdery flakes are easier to remove than wetter snow, and the brine sprayed on roads last week has helped keep slick spots to a minimum.

4:40 a.m. No major accidents, but roads are worsening

WRAL News checked in with authorities in its viewing area about road conditions. Roads in Fayetteville, Orange County and Durham were slick, but no major accidents were reported.

Raleigh police reported minor wrecks on Interstate 40, but said "the roads aren't too bad" overall.

Snow was falling at a quickening pace early Sunday morning, however, and authorities expected road conditions to worsen.

1:34 a.m. Heavy snow in Lake Gaston area

A viewer reported that his sister and nephew built a snowman over six feet tall in the Lake Gaston area.

1:33 a.m. Flurries start in Wilson

Cody Boykin in Wilson reported that snow finally began falling early Sunday morning.

12:07 a.m. Snow finally hits Garner

Viewers said the first flakes were beginning to fall in Garner just after midnight, but still no snow had hit Fuquay-Varina or the area between Archer Lodge and Wendell.

Watch the latest forecast from the WRAL WeatherCenter

11:41 p.m. Flurries reported near Fayetteville

A viewer reported that light flurries were falling in Stedman, near Fayetteville, around 11:30 p.m. He said snow fall has stopped, but sleet continues.

11:29 p.m. Viewer reports 2.5 inches in Halifax County

A viewer in the Darlington area measured 2.5 inches of snow on the ground around 11:30 p.m. Casey Baird said winds were starting to pick up, but remained pretty mild.

11:16 p.m. No white Christmas for Smithfield, Wilson

Viewers in Smithfield and Wilson reported that snow was not yet falling in those areas Saturday night.

A winter storm warning remains in effect for the entire state until midnight Sunday.

11:03 p.m. Forsyth County has heaviest snowfall

The National Weather Service reported snowfall totals for Forsyth, Guilford, Orange, Person, Vance and Wake counties.

Forsyth County had the heaviest snowfall, with some areas seeing as much as five inches of snow.

Person County had four inches and the roads were covered in snow.

Wake and Orange counties had about a half inch and roads were slushy in some areas.

Vance County had an inch of snow on the ground.

Snow accumulation varied throughout Guilford County, with anywhere from 2.5 to 4.5 inches reported.

10:36 p.m. Highway Patrol reports one major accident

In Orange County, one person was injured in a single-car wreck at Guess Road and Bromley Road, the Highway Patrol reported. Emergency crews are on their way to the scene.

There were only two minor accidents reported in Wake County. No one was injured.

Greensboro had several traffic accidents, but no injuries.

Fayetteville had no major accidents so far.

10:21 p.m. White Christmas comes to Oxford

Viewer Maria Changsut said a white Christmas came to Oxford Saturday night. She said she plans to build a snowman with her children tomorrow.

Share your snow photos

10:20 p.m. 'State of emergency' declared as snowfall continues

The Associated Press reported that, "North Carolina and Virginia have declared states of emergency as a winter storm threatens to bring heavy snow to the east coast."

10:14 p.m. Freezing rain in Fayetteville

A viewer reported that sleet and freezing rain are now falling in Fayetteville, but he hasn't seen any snow flakes yet.

9:59 p.m. No weather-related wrecks... yet

Raleigh police, the Wake County Sheriff's Office and the Highway Patrol said no weather-related incidents have been reported yet, but that people should stay off the roadways if possible.

9:27 p.m. Snow accumulating in north Raleigh

Rachel Wrenn checked in again to report that about a half inch of snow has accumulated on grass, as light snowflakes continue to fall in north Raleigh.

9:25 p.m. Chapel Hill advises that residents stay off the roads

The town of Chapel Hill issued an alert that "road conditions may become treacherous," and residents should avoid traveling if possible.

9:23 p.m. Siler City sees snowfall

Snow started falling in Siler City around 9 p.m., Jennifer Leonard reported.

"It finally started coming down at a good clip," she said.

9:06 p.m. Big, heavy flakes fall in Cary

David Cameron in Cary said big, heavy snowflakes are falling, and sticking to grass and sidewalks. He shared a video of the snow falling.

8:57 p.m. Snow brings your photos

Rachel Wrenn in north Raleigh was among the first to share photos of the 2010 Christmas snow with WRAL.

8:32 p.m. Snow coming quickly in Durham

Snow started quickly in Durham, Trish Martin reported at about 8:30 p.m.

"It's snowing like crazy here. You can see the roads are getting covered fast!"

A traffic camera along U.S. Highway 15/501 showed heavy, wet flakes falling.

8:11 p.m. Snow sticking in Wake Forest

Heavy snow was falling fast in Wake Forest at 8 p.m. Saturday and beginning to stick on the grass.

Elsewhere in the Triangle there were widespread reports of falling flakes. High House Road in Cary and Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh saw snow.

7:51 p.m. Snow reports begin in state capital

Two students of North Carolina State University reported seeing snow in Raleigh just before 8 p.m.

Rachel in north Raleigh said she was seeing small- to medium-sized flakes falling at a fast rate. "No rain is mixed in. No accumulations at this time," she wrote in an e-mail to WRAL.

Lauren in west Raleigh said she saw flakes too, but they were melting as they landed.

It was raining at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, but any rain was expected to quickly change to snow and continue overnight, according to WRAL meteorologist Kim Deaner.