N.C. Department of Transportation crews in western North Carolina will be working around the clock for the next several days until roads in the region are clear of snow and ice.
A winter storm bringing heavy snow is moving across the North Carolina mountains and foothills today, and current forecasts predict the western part of the state could receive 8-12 inches of snow by Thursday evening.
NCDOT divisions included in the mountains and foothills regions are:
Division 11: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties;
Division 12: Alexander, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell and Lincoln counties;
Division 13: Buncombe, Burke, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Rutherford and Yancey counties; and
Division 14: Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Polk, Swain and Transylvania counties
To combat the heavy snowfall, NCDOT crews in each of the divisions will be divided into two 12-hour shifts, which will provide 24-hour snow and ice removal operations throughout the region. Generally, more employees will be working during the day, when de-icing operations are most effective.
NCDOT has also been in touch with the contractors routinely used to supplement ongoing snow and ice removal. Those contractors are available to assist NCDOT crews as needed.
Crews in western North Carolina began preparing for this storm several days ago by brining interstates, primary four-lane divided highways, and other primary and secondary routes. Those anti-icing operations finished Tuesday.
NCDOT crews continue to monitor the supplies and equipment needed for this storm and will make adjustments accordingly.
The National Weather Service warns that this storm is capable of producing heavy snow and treacherous driving conditions. NCDOT asks motorists to stay off the roads, if possible.
If you're not able to stay at home, here are a few safety tips for driving in winter weather:
Clear windows and mirrors;
Reduce speed and leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles;
Approach bridges and overpasses with extreme caution and do not apply your brakes while on a bridge unless necessary;
If you begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Do not apply the brakes as that will cause further loss of control of the car;
Come to a complete stop or yield the right of way when approaching an intersection in case any vehicles coming from other directions lose control of their vehicles while trying to stop;
Be on the lookout for fallen tree limbs and power lines from snow/ice accumulation. NCDOT crews work with local power companies to remove the fallen limbs and downed lines as quickly as possible;
If you have a cellular phone, take it with you. You can contact the Highway Patrol statewide by calling *HP (*47) or call law enforcement by dialing 911. But please don’t call 911 to check on road conditions. That line must be kept open for emergencies.
For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit www.ncdot.gov/travel or follow NCDOT on Twitter. Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website.
You can also get emergency information from the N.C. Department of Public Safety at http://readync.org, and download the ReadyNC app to help you prepare for everything from road conditions to severe storms on a daily basis.