Snow delays schools, leaves some slippery roads

Posted March 3, 2010 4:05 a.m. EST
Updated March 3, 2010 10:39 a.m. EST

— The wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain that moved eastward across North Carolina changed over to mainly snow overnight, coating cars and causing slick roads in some areas.

A woman died in Duplin County when she lost control of her car in the snow and hit a tree, authorities said.

No more accumulation was expected, and most of the snow that has fallen will start to melt during the morning, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

In anticipation of slushy roads, several school systems, including those in Wake, Durham, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Franklin, Hoke and Wilson counties, were operating on a two-hour delay Wednesday morning.

Lee and Chatham county schools were closed Wednesday.

Wake County public schools also will released one hour early Wednesday afternoon so teachers can participate in their weekly planning meetings, officials said.

Sleet and snow were reported throughout central North Carolina late Tuesday into early Wednesday.

Viewer Renee Thompson in Benson said she and her husband measured more than 4 inches of snow in their yard.

Progress Energy reported several thousand outages in counties including Chatham, Harnett, Duplin, Sampson and Johnston counties.

Slick roads cause wrecks

Slick roads were reported around U.S. Highway 1/421 in Lee County early Wednesday. Only one lane was passable on U.S. 1 as of 4:30 a.m. Deputies said a number of wrecks had occurred in the area, but no one was injured.

In Chatham County, some drivers were sliding off roads and getting stuck due to slick conditions. There were four wrecks as of 3:30 a.m., troopers said.

Wilson County had about four minor wrecks in the eastern part of the county as of 3 a.m., deputies said.

In Duplin County, a woman was killed late Tuesday when she lost control of her vehicle on N.C. Highway 403.

Troopers said Maria Flores, 44, of Mount Olive, lost control because it was snowing so hard. She hit a tree and died at the scene. Her 18-year-old son, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was not seriously injured.

The wintry mix caused some problems in Nash County, where 2 inches of snow fell by 9 p.m. Tuesday. The state Highway Patrol responded to more than a dozen wrecks there during the evening commute.

“I hit a piece of black ice that I didn't see and lost control of the vehicle,” Matt Richert said after wrecking his vehicle on U.S. Highway 64.

U.S. Highway 64 in Nash County was particularly troublesome as cars slid into ditches and guardrails, keeping tow truck drivers busy.

“I love it. Somebody’s got to capitalize (on the snow). Might as well be me,” said Al Staton, with Advantage Towing.

Elsewhere in the state, troopers said they responded to 217 calls Tuesday in a 14-county region surrounding Raleigh. There were no reports of serious injuries.

On Western Boulevard in Raleigh, a car lost control in the snow and hit a utility pole Tuesday night, authorities said. No one was injured.

Troopers responded to about 161 traffic wrecks across the Triangle overnight, the Highway Patrol said. Several involved vehicles stuck in ditches.

The Highway Patrol in Fayetteville saw about 40 wrecks Tuesday night. No serious injuries were reported.

The wintry conditions extended to the coast, where the Coast Guard had to rescue two people from a disabled sailboat in the Albemarle Sound.

A man and woman aboard the 26-foot sailboat Griff called for help Tuesday evening after losing power. They had been blown off course and said they feared the boat would capsize in 3- to 5-foot seas and 20-knot winds, authorities said.

Boats from Elizabeth City and Oregon Inlet responded, and Currituck County 911 operators were able to provide an approximate location of the disabled boat. The Elizabeth City crew was able to find the boaters after about two hours, and they were taken to Alligator River Marina for treatment of minor injuries.

Weather to warm in coming days

Flurries were still falling around 4 a.m. Wednesday in the Triangle.

Sleet coated Fayetteville and Raeford, while viewers in Enfield, Shoeheel and Whitakers saw snowflakes late Tuesday.

Greensboro reported about 3 inches of snow early Wednesday, while Winston-Salem had 2 inches. Durham had about an inch and a half, and Raleigh had about an inch.

"Oh my goodness, it's very strange that it's snowing a week before spring break,” Duke University student Tyler Atwood said.

“I’m ready for springtime. I’ve had enough of this snow,” North Carolina State University student Courtney Fox said.

The snow will likely be out of the viewing area by noon. Wednesday will be breezy, cold with rain sprinkles possible.

"If you are tired of the snow and the cold ... Saturday and Sunday look brighter and warmer, with temperatures in the upper 50s to low 60s," WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.