Slick spots responsible for wrecks across Triangle

Posted March 18, 2014 5:35 a.m. EDT
Updated March 18, 2014 3:26 p.m. EDT

A salt truck overturned on Fox Road at Interstate 540 Tuesday morning due to slick conditions.

— Slick bridges were responsible for hundreds of accidents across the Triangle early Tuesday and prompted school officials in Wake, Durham, Orange and Person counties to cancel classes.

Light rain and freezing drizzle fell in many parts of the western Triangle Monday and early Tuesday, prompting the National Weather Service to extend a winter weather advisory for much of central North Carolina until noon Tuesday.

The light glazing of ice produced dozens of wrecks overnight and during the morning commute. Raleigh police responded to 87 wrecks between midnight and 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. In Durham, 149 wrecks were reported between 6 p.m. Monday and noon Tuesday.

Slick spots were reported on bridges throughout Wake, Durham and Orange counties on Interstates 40, 440 and 540, along with other major North Carolina highways.

One problem area was on I-40 East at Hammond Road. Officials closed several lanes due to a wreck before 7 a.m., and traffic struggled to get through the area for more than two hours.

Officials in Apex, Raleigh and Wake Forest closed bridges on portions of U.S. Highway 64, U.S. Highway 1 and I-40 at different times during the morning commute to prevent wrecks.

Still, dozens of cars ended up in minor wrecks between 6 and 10 a.m.

A CAT bus and tractor-trailer were involved in a wreck on the ramp from Person Street to I-40, closing the ramp for more than an hour.

No passengers were on the bus at the time, but the driver, Sondra McCarter, was stuck on the bus for about 90 minutes because the door was pinned up against a guardrail. No injuries were reported in the wreck.

A truck carrying salt overturned on Fox Road near I-540 at about 7:45 a.m. Raleigh police said the truck began to skid, struck the right guard rail and flipped. The driver, who was not hurt, crawled out of the vehicle after it came to rest.

North Carolina Department of Transportation crews treated trouble spots throughout the area as calls from law enforcement officials came in. Additional crews were dispatched at 4 a.m. Tuesday to help spread salt and sand.

School administrators in Wake, Durham, Orange, Person and Chapel-Hill Carrboro canceled classes Tuesday.

Several other school systems, including Chatham, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Harnett, Lee and Johnston operated on delays. Classes before 10 a.m. Tuesday at North Carolina State University were also canceled. View a full list of closings and delays.

Temperatures cracked 32 degrees in much of the Triangle at about 10 a.m., and chances for any rain or freezing precipitation will diminish greatly by noon. Daytime highs Tuesday will top out near 40 degrees, about 25 degrees colder than normal for the middle of March.

"Expect some patchy showers during the day," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. "This system does not want to give up, but it will be pushed out overnight by our next cold front."

Spotty drizzle is possible again Wednesday morning, but temperatures should be well above freezing overnight. Temperatures will climb into the mid-50s Wednesday afternoon.

Sunshine returns during the second half of the week to push highs back into the mid-60s.