Weather

Triangle Dodges Winter Weather Woes

Posted January 20, 2007 6:46 p.m. EST
Updated January 21, 2007 7:30 p.m. EST

Warmer temperatures kept roadways clear of icy precipitation as areas of cold rain moved across the Triangle area on Sunday.

Winter Weather Advisories issued for several northwestern counties in central North Carolina were canceled late Sunday afternoon. Freezing Rain Advisories remained in effect until 6 a.m. Monday for several counties northwest of the Triangle area, as well as much of southern Virginia.

Areas of light rain moved through central North Carolina early Sunday afternoon, with a mix of light rain and patchy sleet in the Triangle area north and west. Highs ranged from the mid-30s to low-40s.

In the evening hours, the temperature was expected to drop into the low-30s, with light rain and possible freezing rain falling in some areas.

The combination of near-freezing temperatures and steady rain had local Highway Patrol officers watching and waiting on Sunday, hoping ice wouldn't come into the picture.

“What my guys are doing is monitoring the interstates mainly, and keeping an eye out for the bridges and overpasses, because they’re the first things to ice over,” said Sgt Gerald Cutler with the Highway Patrol. “And if they spot any problems, they're going to contact the Department of Transportation.”

However, Raleigh's DOT maintenance yard wasn't brimming with activity on Sunday. The trucks were locked up and parked, and de-icers weren't on the road because conditions weren't a major problem for drivers.

Progress Energy and Duke Power officials said they would have crews ready to respond if there are any outages. However, icing typically wouldn't become a problem for power lines unless there more than a quarter of an inch of ice formed on surfaces.

The mild weather outlook for the Triangle was a stark contrast to the latest in a series of winter storms battered Colorado on Sunday, dumping several inches of snow and whipping up strong wind that created whiteout conditions on the state's eastern plains.

Accidents caused by blowing snow and icy roads closed southbound Interstate 25 near Fort Collins for two hours Sunday morning. State Patrol Master Trooper Ron Watkins said no injuries were reported.

Wind up to 60 mph piled the snow into drifts as high as 3 feet in parts of the state, the National Weather Service said.

A blizzard warning was in effect for much of eastern and northeastern Colorado, and the State Patrol advised against unnecessary travel.

The stormy weather in Colorado followed closely on the heels of a storm that spread heavy snow across parts of the Plains on Saturday, limiting visibility and creating hazardous driving conditions.

That storm was blamed for at least eight traffic deaths: four in Nebraska, three in Kansas and one in Oklahoma.

The Plains storm spared much of Oklahoma from heavy snow, but utilities reported about 30,000 homes and business were still without power Sunday because of an ice storm one week earlier.

"We're coming down to what we expect to be very near the end of the restoration process," said Stan Whiteford, a spokesman for Public Service Company of Oklahoma, which reported about 4,000 customers still blacked out, mostly in the McAlester area. "We think we're going to be pretty close to wrapping things up."

Authorities in Oklahoma's Pittsburg and McIntosh counties implemented a nighttime curfew following reports of break-ins and the theft of generators set up to power railroad crossing guards.