I-40 riddled with icy patches throughout Triangle
Posted January 10, 2011 4:11 p.m. EST
Updated January 11, 2011 3:57 a.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — Authorities said road conditions were taking a turn for the worse Monday night, with slick spots causing wrecks in the Triangle and southern counties.
Numerous wrecks were reported on Interstate 40 in the Triangle.
A multi-vehicle wreck involving six cars closed the two left lanes of I-40 near Aviation Parkway. No injuries were reported.
Durham police cleared a wreck on I-40 near Interstate 540 around 10:30 p.m. where victims sustained minor injuries. The North Carolina Highway Patrol responded to a wreck on the highway near Harrison Avenue in Cary.
Authorities advised drivers to avoid these areas if possible.
Troopers said they've received several reports of cars running off the road in Johnston County, but they don't have an exact number yet. They said most of the trouble spots were on Interstate 95 near I-40, and between mile markers 312 and 315 on I-40.
No serious wrecks had been reported by Monday evening, but road conditions were expected to worsen as wet roads freeze with falling temperatures.
Raleigh police are urging motorists to take it slow.
Road crews were on standby to spread a mixture of salt and sand on slick roads. They spent the weekend brining major roads.
Snowfall in areas south of the Triangle reached up to 6 inches Monday, blanketing the ground and the roads in the slippery white stuff. But the Triangle only saw a few flurries, which quickly turned to freezing rain.
Although meteorologists predict that ice accumulation will not amount to widespread interruption in electrical service, sporadic power outages may occur. Progress Energy is on standby, but the utility was reporting no major outages as of 10 p.m.
About 50 Duke Energy customers lost power Monday night.
"We're ready to respond when those outages do occur," said Jeff Brooks, spokesperson for Progress Energy. "We've places our crews on alert and we've brought in additional resources into the region to assist if necessary."
Emergency officials urged people who may experience a power outage to call their power company directly and not dial 911.
"During the last winter storm, we experiences a large volume of people calling 911 about their power and unfortunately that clogs the 911 system," said Jason Barbour of Johnston County 911. "(It) may prevent someone who has a true emergency from getting into the 911 center in a timely manner."
Barbour said people should stock up on supplies to prevent winter weather emergencies.
"Water, canned foods, dried foods, medicine, batteries, toiletries, just things that you would need to live in the next couple of days should you not have electricity and not be able to travel," he said.
Slick roads cause problems in Fayetteville
Authorities south of the Triangle said they were "slammed" with weather-related calls Monday night as freezing rain continued to fall over a blanket of snow.
Fayetteville police worked dozens of minor wrecks throughout the day, and street crews were spreading sand on major roads.
Lasheba Shipman's Ford Explorer spun off Shaw Road while she was trying to ascend the hill near Bragg Boulevard.
"I slid back down the hill. I couldn't make it up there," she said.
A Dodge Ram came barreling down behind her, unable to stop on thick patches of ice that had accumulated at the bottom.
"I (saw) her coming, and I was praying, 'Lord, don't let her hit me.' And she did, but I knew she couldn't help it. The ice is so thick out here," Shipman said.
Neither Shipman nor the other driver was hurt, just a little shaken.
Police closed a bridge that crosses the All-American Freeway after a crash knocked over a power pole along Santa Fe Drive.
Drivers traveled at a slow crawl, but some people took advantage of not having to get on the roads.
Brittany Williams, 17, took school closings as an excuse to hit Rowan Park for a day of sledding.
"I was praying for the snow, and it's finals week, so I'm glad," she said.
Cumberland County schools will remain closed Tuesday for students and 10-month employees.