Weather

Snow plus melting could mean black-ice problems

Posted February 4, 2009 4:57 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— Snow followed by temperatures above freezing posed a black-ice threat for areas that were visited by Wednesday's snowstorm.

"Those who saw snow last night and had it melt could see it refreeze and become black ice," WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.

Black ice is the term for thin, clear ice that forms over black road surfaces as melting water flows across them and temperatures sink back below 32 degrees. It can be nearly impossible for drivers to see.

Temperatures rose above freezing Wednesday afternoon, but a wind chill kept it feeling in the 20s. Maze said the overnight low was expected to be about 16 degrees with a wind chill in the single digits.

Who has to worry about black ice early Thursday depends on where they live.

"It was all about location, location, location this morning," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said of Wednesday's hit-and-miss snowstorm.

If you had snow, be sure to and video for use on WRAL.com.

Parts of Wilson County reported the most snow, up to 5 inches. WRAL viewer Darlene Graham reported 4 inches of snow in the Anderson Creek area of Harnett County. Justin Seldon said he measured 3 inches near the Aberdeen/Hoke County line. Dunn and Smithfield recorded 4 inches overnight.

Most of the precipitation fell on a line from far southern Wake County and east along the Interstate 95 corridor.

The threat of snow and icy roads was enough to close or delay some schools, including Wake County, which closed due to safety concerns, spokesman Michael Evans said.

In Johnston and Wilson counties, several wrecks were reported near the Interstate 95 and U.S. Highway 70 overpass, state Highway Patrol troopers said.

One driver ended up in the ditch after skidding across an icy road in Wilson, officials said. Another driver behind the wheel of a minivan slid into a snowy ditch near the outlet mall in Smithfield.

“People are still driving too fast. The posted speed limit is still 55, but you can't travel 55 on the ice covered and snow covered roadways,” N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Charles Purvis.

Cold temperatures in the mid-30s will keep their hold on central North Carolina on Thursday. On Friday, however, temperatures will shoot up, jumping to near or above 60 degrees for several days.

"We'll have very cold weather, at least by North Carolina standards, Wednesday and Thursday. And then, look, bang! 58, 67, 70 (degrees) – just like that," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

"What's likely to happen over the next seven days is just bizarre, just nothing short of bizarre," he said.