Freezing rain threat puts some local schools on delays

Posted January 27, 2013 7:37 a.m. EST
Updated January 28, 2013 8:06 a.m. EST

More than 200 schools and organizations announced delayed openings Monday to give commuters a chance to avoid any icy spots on the roads caused by freezing rain moving through the region.

Orange, Wake, Durham and Edgecombe county schools will operate on a three-hour delay, district representatives said.

Schools in Franklin, Chatham, Granville, Halifax, Person, Vance and Warren counties will operate on a two-hour delay, along with schools in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

A freezing rain advisory that was in effect for more than 50 North Carolina counties before dawn Monday had been reduced to about two dozen counties by 7:30 a.m.

Temperatures for most of the region were hovering just above freezing, and there were no reports of weather-related accidents at 7:30 a.m.

Still, bridges and overpasses could get an icy glaze.

"It's one of those mornings that could go either way," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. "Certainly, it's better to have the advisory and have everyone prepared."

North Carolina State Highway Patrol First Sgt. Jeff Gordon said there were no traffic problems beyond the typical morning commute.

"But kind of err on caution as you're driving this morning, and slow your speed as you're going to work," he said.

A spokeswoman with the North Carolina Department of Transportation said Sunday evening that there weren't any plans to treat roads because the expected amount of precipitation is low and there was still residual treatment on roads left over from Friday's weather.

The town of Cary, meanwhile, treated bridges and other potential trouble areas with brine Sunday evening as a precaution.

“In our last blast of wintery weather, we encourage drivers to delay as much as possible so that the sun can warm the roads,” Public Works Director Scott Hecht said. “If you must get your Monday started early, please be watchful of slick spots and allow extra time for travel.”

Gardner said any precipitation in the area should end by 9 a.m. Dry air will then take over, and high temperatures Monday will inch back toward the normal high of 52.

By Tuesday, temperatures will be well above normal with a high of 69 in Raleigh, and the Triangle should break the 70-degree mark on Wednesday.

A cold front moving in Wednesday afternoon and evening could bring some severe weather and will likely bump temperatures back to normal, with a high of 50 degrees Thursday before dipping again into the mid to high 40s for the weekend.

Gardner said Monday's freezing rain could be the area's last winter weather for a while.

"Tomorrow looks like a fantastic day," Gardner said.