Storm Causes Traffic Snarls, Power Outages In Eastern N.C. Counties
Posted January 27, 2004 5:35 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — A second winter storm to hit North Carolina in two days added a slick glaze of ice Monday night atop slippery snow and sleet already packed on the ground across much of the state.
Eastern counties appeared to catch the brunt of the treacherous conditions, with power outages, road wrecks and National Guard soldiers on alert.
Rural electric cooperatives reported scattered outages, primarily in the southeastern section of the state, where power lines were weighed down by freezing rain.
Roughly 15,000 Progress Energy customers in the southeast part of the state were without power Monday night, said spokeswoman Dana Yeganian.
Several accidents and collisions, including two involving tractor-trailers, snarled traffic and shut down interstates in several counties Monday night as moisture froze and roads deteriorated.
The Highway Patrol confirmed a fatality around 11 p.m. Monday night that occurred in an accident on I-85 in Henderson.
In Wayne County, an eight-vehicle accident shut down Highway 581 in Goldsboro. Each of the cars involved, one after another, went into a ditch after the drivers failed to make a curve.
The accident shut down a half-mile section of road.
"Once they would slow down, gravity would take over, and they would slide down the embankment on the road and just pancake together," said Highway Patrol trooper D.P. Finch.
In Johnston County, disabled tractor-trailers on I-95 closed the northbound lanes at mile marker 106.
Disabled tractor-trailers also caused problems in Nash County, where the northbound lanes of I-95 were closed at mile marker 126, between Wilson and Rocky Mount.
Several other collisions caused delays on I-95 North of Cumberland County, where the Highway Patrol reported deteriorating road conditions as moisture froze.
Common among all the accidents was that it took troopers and emergency personnel a long time to get to the scenes and clear them, their efforts compounded by the conditions and the logjams of vehicles.
"If you do come out here and you do have a wreck, you're going to be on your own for quite some time, due to the volume of calls we've received," Finch said.
Meanwhile, the Franklin County 9-1-1 center said it received numerous reports of vehicles getting stuck or sliding off roads.