Local News

Perdue lifts snowstorm state of emergency

Posted January 21, 2009 3:30 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— It was smooth sailing on most interstates and major roads Wednesday, the morning after a storm dumped up to 6 inches on central and eastern North Carolina.

Slush and ice, though, made for slippery conditions on secondary, rural and neighborhood roads Wednesday, and more than 800 schools and businesses closed their doors or opened late.

As temperatures rose and snow began to melt, Gov. Bev Perdue lifted a state of emergency, and the state shut its Emergency Operations Center in the early afternoon. Perdue had declared the state of emergency Tuesday as her seventh executive order, enabling the state to help emergency responders.

Get tips for driving on slick roads.

By noon, authorities had not reported any major wrecks or problems on the roads.

Raleigh police responded to 10 wrecks between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. From 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, they went to more than 100 wrecks.

Cary officials said that most of the town's roads were in good shape and road crews were hitting icy spots on a case-by-case basis. Motorists can report slick spots by calling 919-469-4090.

A car ran off windy, hilly Optimist Farm Road, forcing its temporary closure. Cary sent out a truck to clear the state-maintained road.

Slow-moving, cautious drivers formed a 3-mile back-up on N.C. Highway 55 in Apex and Holly Springs.

A slushy mess formed on downtown Raleigh streets where tall buildings blocked the sun's melting rays.

WRAL viewer Bill Coggin sent in pictures of a boat left high and dry in the median of Interstate 95, near U.S. Highway 64, in Rocky Mount. The truck towing it jackknifed, Coggin said, and the boat came off its trailer.

While Delta Airlines canceled three early morning flights, the runways were dry at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, and other airlines operated on a normal schedule. For flight info, visit the airlines' Web sites, call the flight reservation numbers or visit www.rdu.com.

Transportation officials had feared that overnight temperatures in the teens would cause extensive black ice, which forms when snow melts, forms a thin layer of water on roadways and then re-freezes. It can be nearly impossible for drivers to spot in time to slow down.

“The biggest mistake that's occurring today – and it's the one that occurs every time we have an event like this – is people are simply traveling too fast for the roadway conditions,” Highway Patrol spokesman Capt. Everett Clendenin said Tuesday.

Road crews worked overnight and through the morning to lay down salt and sand, hoping to avoid a repeat of Tuesday when troopers responded to more than 2,500 wrecks statewide.

Edward Wayne Dudley, 57, of Creedmoor, died when he lost control of his vehicle due to ice and snow and hit a tree on S.R. 1618, 5 miles south of Oxford, Tuesday afternoon.

On Tuesday, troopers responded to 717 weather-related wrecks in Triangle counties.