Icy roads make for slippery morning commute

Posted January 8, 2010 4:09 a.m. EST
Updated January 8, 2010 1:01 p.m. EST

— Icy patches on roads caused dozens of wrecks in central North Carolina and prompted more than 200 groups, including Wake, Durham and Orange county schools, to open late Friday morning.

Instead of the predicted snow, light rain came down overnight Thursday and washed away anti-icing salt brine that had been spread on roads. Then, an arctic air mass blew in Friday morning, dropping temperatures and freezing any water left on roads.

"It wasn't the snow, but the rain that caused some issues for us this morning," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. "So the end result is the same, but we certainly didn't get there the way we expected."

Most of the wrecks happened north and west of Raleigh. Counties to the south and east saw fewer wrecks, because temperatures stayed above freezing until the sun could dry off the roads.

State troopers said they responded to dozen of wrecks on icy roads, mostly in Granville County. There were a few injuries, but most wrecks were fairly minor, troopers said.

The most ice patches were reported in Person County and Mecklenburg County, Va.

On Hester Road near Creedmoor, a car slid off the road. A woman was transported by ambulance to a local hospital.

Durham police said they saw more wrecks as the morning went on. A vehicle overturned at Glover Road, at Angier Avenue, closing the roadway. Another wreck at Hebron Road created backups onto Old Oxford Road.

Two separate wrecks slowed traffic on Manns Chapel Road in northern Chatham County.

An SUV slid off Rogers Road, in Rolesville, into a ditch. Afterward, crews spread sand on the roads to prevent a similar wreck.

Michael Evans, spokesman for Wake County Public Schools, said leaders decided to start on a delay because they'd rather be safe than sorry.

In addition to buses traveling on smaller roads that might not have been treated, Evans said, leaders were also concerned about teen drivers trying to navigate icy roads.

"We have got a lot of high school drivers who are very inexperienced, if at all, with inclement weather," Evans said.