Hazardous driving expected Thursday

Posted January 17, 2018 9:55 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 11:17 a.m. EDT

— Slick roads on Wednesday became treacherous overnight, as freezing temperatures hardened slush into an icy glaze across central North Carolina.

State and local officials pleaded with people to stay home so road crews and the sun could start to break up the ice Thursday morning to make highways passable again.

"This storm has caused many roads, bridges and overpasses to become icy and wet. That's going to get worse through the evening," Gov. Roy Cooper said during a Wednesday afternoon news conference. "Any kind of commute tomorrow morning can be extremely hazardous. We would advise people to stay off the road if possible."

State Department of Transportation crews spent most of Wednesday plowing interstate highways and major routes, but snowfall thwarted much of their effort to keep roads clear. By nightfall, dropping temperatures made plowing more difficult, so crews switched to spreading salt, which officials said would help melt the ice on roadways and make plowing easier Thursday morning.

Still, Col. Glenn McNeill, commander of the State Highway Patrol, said patches of black ice will likely cause problems in many areas early Thursday.

"Driving conditions continue to worsen," McNeill said. "Please be mindful of the risk associated with driving overnight and into tomorrow morning. ... Motorists who venture out not only place themselves at risk but also our first responders."

Crews won't start to work on secondary roads until later Thursday, officials said.

In Fayetteville, a portion of Shaw Road between Murchison Road and Bragg Boulevard was closed late Wednesday night as a result of deteriorating conditions.

In Nash County, a car ended up in a creek off Sandy Cross Road after the driver slid off the road, hit a guardrail and went down an embankment. The driver was not seriously injured, authorities said.

In Durham, two women had to be pulled from a creek after their car slid off the road Wednesday afternoon.