Triangle schools cancel class as snow remains around North Carolina

Posted January 18, 2018 11:20 a.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 11:17 a.m. EDT

— Residents across North Carolina were digging out on Thursday after a winter storm dumped nearly a foot of snow across parts of the region.

Some areas immediately to the north and west of Raleigh saw the greatest accumulation. Chatham, Orange, Person and Durham counties recorded 10 to 12 inches of snow. In the capital city, some downtown neighborhoods measured up to 6 inches, while others within the city limits saw only 3 or 4 inches.

As ice and snow remained across the region Thursday afternoon, Wake County Public Schools, Durham Public Schools, Johnston County Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools announced that classes would be canceled Friday. Wake County school officials said the make-up day scheduled for Saturday will still take place as scheduled.

Cumberland County Schools announced early Friday morning that they would also be closed due to icy conditions on some roads in the county.

The abundant sunshine was helping to melt snow and ice in spots, but temperatures struggled to climb above freezing throughout the day. By 4 p.m., temperatures had climbed to 34 degrees in Raleigh, but were expected to dip into the low teens during the evening, meaning anything that melts will refreeze.

"It will be treacherous tonight," WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth said of driving conditions. "You want to be careful out on those roads tonight. It's going to be slick."

A majority of central North Carolina remains under a winter weather advisory through noon on Friday.

“Anything that did melt today is going to refreeze and it will take a few hours tomorrow to get above freezing,” WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

Snow and slush remained a problem on side streets and secondary roads, as well as parking lots, as air temperatures remained below freezing through lunchtime on Thursday. Officials said more that 2,000 Department of Transportation employees were working Thursday to clear roads with more than 1,500 state trucks and 700 contract trucks at work.

Poole Road in Raleigh was blocked near Raleigh Boulevard at about 6 p.m. due to icy conditions. Authorities did not have an estimate for when the road would reopen.

Many roads in Cary were in pretty good shape Thursday, according to town officials, thanks in part to an initiative that utilizes pick-up trucks with plows attached to get into neighborhoods quickly.

"We've learned over the years that while the mains look good, our citizens struggle to get out of their street. With 7 inches of snow, we wanted to get it out of there as quickly as possible so they can get on with their lives and create a good passable road network," said Public Works Director Scott Hecht.

Most major roadways in Durham County had been cleared by Thursday afternoon, but smaller neighborhood streets remained snow-covered. Many people spent the day safe at home, opting to ride on sleds instead of in cars.

“We have at least 6 to 8 inches on the ground, it’s going to get cold again tonight and we’re just trying to enjoy it,” said resident Aaron Lentz. “I haven’t’ moved around a whole lot. I got home from work last night and I’ve tried not to go out.”

Cumberland County saw some of the lowest snow totals in the region, but roads were still icy Thursday afternoon, causing many vehicles to slide off the road.

Slippery roads led to more than 2,700 collisions Wednesday night and Thursday morning, including a crash that killed one person in Washington County.

Thousands of people were in the dark Thursday morning after snow brought down power lines but, as of 5 p.m., power had been restored to most of the Triangle and under 3,000 power outages remained statewide, according to Duke Energy. About 560 of those outages were in Chatham County, officials said.

The weather had canceled more than 50 flights at Raleigh-Durham International Airport by Thursday morning, but both primary runways at the airport were open.. A majority of the cancelations were from Southwest and American Airlines, but all travelers were advised to check with their airline before traveling to the airport.