Local News

Storm closes schools, slicks roads

Posted February 5, 2010 9:57 a.m. EST
Updated February 5, 2010 5:53 p.m. EST

— Orange, Granville and Person county schools closed as sleet and snow slickened the roads Friday morning, causing at least 15 wrecks in Orange County alone.

A storm started sweeping across North Carolina Friday morning, bringing a wintry mixture of sleet, snow and rain across central and eastern counties. Sleet fell as far south as Hillsborough, Cary and Fayetteville, while northern areas around Roxboro saw more snow.

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Orange County schools closed around 7:30 a.m., while Granville and Person counties were initially opening two hours late, but decided to close later in the morning. (See all closings and delays.)

Person County Commissioner Kyle Puryear said that most roads are covered with snow and ice. He urged residents to use extreme caution if they had to travel. Two inches of snow fell on the county, then switched over to heavy sleet.

Orange County school bus driver Lynn Benturini said she saw snow sticking to roads when she left for work. By the time she arrived at the bus barn, she said, schools had been closed.

In Granville County, four wrecks happened along a slushy stretch of Cash Road in an hour. No major injuries were reported, but Tyambi Crews' SUV ended up in pond.

Tyambi Crews said she was driving at about 30 mph along Cash Road, heading home to Creedmoor.

"I didn't think the road was that bad," she said. "I just started spinning. I (went) spinning twice, then I ended up sliding into the pond."

Another driver stopped and pulled Crews out of the pond. "Physically, I'm OK," she said. "It's just that I was scared, very scared. I never had an accident like that before."

Nearby, on U.S. Highway 15-501, another SUV smashed into a utility pole. The driver was OK.

A state Department of Transportation truck came out to spread salt on Cash Road.

The state Highway Patrol said that they were responding to 15 wrecks in northern Orange County around 10 a.m. A number of wrecks occurred along Interstate 85, between Hillsborough and Efland. Minor injuries have been reported.

Many of the wrecks involved cars running off the road and striking guardrails or trees, according to the Highway Patrol.

Rain prevented DOT crews from spreading an anti-icing, salt-brine mix on roads before the storm, so they responded to trouble spots as they appeared on Friday.

Some DOT salt barns are less than 20 percent full following last weekend's storm. By itself, Wake County spread more than 22,000 tons of salt during that storm.

Wake County officials said they have received between 200 and 300 tons of salt daily since last Saturday and have enough on hand to treat roads this weekend if necessary.