While the threat of a major snow and ice storm may have passed, State Emergency Response Team officials say they are remaining vigilant and responsive.
“The situation is improving, but that does not mean that conditions have returned to normal,” said Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry. “People still need to be cautious whether they are out driving or walking. The black ice is a very real threat and should be taken seriously.”
Perry said state and local emergency management officials are still coordinating response to the storm and State Highway Patrol troopers will continue to have increased patrols at least through Saturday to ensure no motorists are left stranded in the dangerously low temperatures.
While ice accumulations were not as severe as predicted, most of the state remains under a Winter Weather Advisory due to dangerous black ice. Temperatures are expected to rise above freezing this afternoon allowing some of the ice to melt. But a brief chance of scattered snow showers combined with below freezing temperatures statewide for the next few days will leave many secondary roads, streets, driveways and yards in ice skating rink-like condition.
Law Enforcement Commissioner Gregory K. Baker also thanked state agencies for a tremendous job coordinating together to respond to the winter storm and for their extra efforts to ensure that no motorists were left stranded overnight in freezing temperatures.
“North Carolinians largely heeded our warnings to stay off the roads,” said Highway Patrol Commander Bill Grey. “Following that advice has greatly reduced the number of wrecks and injuries from what we’ve seen in previous storms.”
Overnight, Highway Patrol troopers responded to nearly 100 calls for service statewide, well below average. Troopers typically respond to approximately 1,000 calls daily.
National Guard soldiers, Wildlife officers, Alcohol Law Enforcement agents and DOT roadside assistance patrols also have assisted motorists.
By 11 a.m., the utilities reported about 12,200 power outages statewide, mostly in the Southeastern and Sandhills areas.
Governor McCrory lifted the State of Emergency late Tuesday. The truck weight and hours of service restriction waivers that also were signed earlier this week are still in effect as companies continue to move fuel, propane and other goods to recover from the winter storm. The waiver is in effect for 30 days or until it is canceled.
NCDOT has scraped or treated with salt and sand nearly all the interstates and four-lane divided highways. Crews will finish the primary routes today then shift their focus to secondary roads. Even with treatment, icy spots will remain especially on bridges and overpasses.
The department currently has 2,474 NCDOT employees responding to the effects of the winter storm statewide. They are using 1,316 trucks loaded with plows and spreaders and 213 motor graders to clear the roads of snow and ice. Since Monday, crews have put down 38,555 tons of salt and 9,061 tons of salt-sand mix on the roads.