Governor Urges Public to Stay off Roads, Prepare for Potential Power Outages, Frigid Temps and More Black Ice

Published Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 10:18 am

Feb. 18, 2015. This morning, Governor Pat McCrory joined with state public safety and transportation officials to thank North Carolinians for staying off the roads and cautioned them to be prepared for potential power outages and hazardous road conditions for the next few days.

“This is not your typical North Carolina winter storm where the sunshine melts the snow and ice in a day or two. The extended low temperatures and black ice likely will make this a dangerous situation for several days,”Governor McCrory said. “Our crews have been out in full force treating the roads, but there is not much you can do about black ice.”

Any thawing on the roads today would refreeze overnight and the temperatures are expected to remain dangerously low for several days, the governor cautioned.

State agencies have been working throughout the night during and in advance of the storm. State Highway Patrol troopers responded to more than 2,100 calls for service between 6 p.m. Monday and 6 a.m. this morning. Nearly 100 law enforcement officers from Alcohol Law Enforcement, N.C. Wildlife and NCDOT license and theft have assisted with the statewide safety efforts.

One person was killed Monday when she lost control of her vehicle on an ice-covered road in Hertford County.

More than 57,500 power outages were reported as of 9:30 a.m. and those numbers had been rising.

Nearly all school systems in North Carolina are closed today: 100 schools systems are completely closed and 10 of the 15 systems that were operating today had a delayed start.

Governor McCrory reminded all state employees that the adverse weather policy remains in effect today.

The governor declared a State of Emergency yesterday, enabling him to mobilize the necessary resources to respond to a storm. It also is the first step in seeking federal funds to help defray the cost of providing emergency services, clearing debris and repairing any damaged public infrastructure. The declaration is executed under the Emergency Management Act.

Also included in the executive order was a waiver on restrictions on weight and the hours of service for fuel, utility and other truck drivers that may be working to deliver supplies, restore services or clear debris in response to the winter storm. The waiver is in effect for 30 days.

NCDOT crews were at work throughout the night spreading salt and treating trouble spots on North Carolina’s roadways. NCDOT has also started to plow roads throughout the state, starting with interstate and primary routes and then moving to secondary roads. The department has more than 2,700 trucks available statewide including salt and sand dump trucks fitted with plows. However, slick conditions and black ice remain a concern, even on routes that have already been cleared.

“Our team is working around the clock to address treacherous roadways throughout the state, but the continued cold temperatures mean that our roads are still impacted by snow and ice,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “We ask that you continue to put safety first and avoid all unnecessary travel until conditions improve.”

The governor also asked residents to check on their friends and neighbors to help them out when they could and to be sure to look after their pets, as well.

Real-time weather and road conditions and shelter openings, as well as winter safety tips, can be found on the free ReadyNC mobile app or on line at www.readync.org web site.

Travelers are urged to call 511 or go to www.ncdot.org for up to date roadway conditions. Motorists are reminded NOT to call 911 or the State Highway Patrol Communication Centers for roadway conditions.

If you must travel, the North Carolina Highway Patrol recommends following these safety tips:

Reduce your speed. Driving at the regular speed limit will reduce your ability to control the car if you begin to slide.

Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles.  Bridges and overpasses accumulate ice. Approach them with extreme caution and do not apply your brakes while on the bridge.

If you do 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.

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