Local News

Triangle, State Ready For Winter

Posted December 5, 2005 5:56 a.m. EST

— The recent spring-like temperatures could soon give way to snow as the first fringes of a significant winter storm head toward North Carolina.

Rain was making its way to central North Carolina Sunday, bringing rain to most of the WRAL-TV viewing area, but the mountains and western part of the state could see anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of snow, meterologist Kim Deaner said Sunday.

The season's first winter weather could fall during Winter Weather Awareness Week, which started Sunday. Gov. Mike Easley wants residents, businesses and schools to make sure they are prepared for the winter season ahead.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration predicts North Carolina will have more snow and ice this winter than experienced last year, when several storms crippled local communities.

State, Local Agencies Ready For Winter Weather

Wake County and state Department of Transportation officials said the city and state has already prepared, having readied snow equipment, stored salt and salt brine, and made detailed plans for moving and removing snow and ice.

"If you don't have to be out there and there's snow and ice and you don't have to be out there, don't be out there," said DOT engineer Chris McGee. "It's practically impossible for us to go out and do our jobs and put salt and sand out on the roads with the volume of traffic that's out there -- even on a daily basis."

The biggest difference for the DOT this year is that it will contract extra tankers during weather events.

For the city of Raleigh, there is a policy change that stems from Jan. 19's unexpected snowfall where virtually the entire city was gridlocked after less than an inch of snow fell. Motorists were stuck in traffic for hours after trying to leave work or pick up children from schools.

"We want to avoid that if we can by asking people to stay where they are until we can make the roads safer," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said. "That should avoid extensive gridlock. It may be inconvenient but not as bad as we had last. Jan. 19."