Governor Cooper Continues to Encourage Public Safety

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First Storm-Related Fatality Reported

Governor Roy Cooper again urged North Carolinians to exercise caution and stay off the roads as dangerous travel conditions persist. While snowfall accumulations were not as high as originally forecasted, ice accumulations have made for more hazardous travel. 

“Temperatures are still dangerously cold and many roads remain icy,” said Governor Cooper. “Please be careful and stay off the roads so our emergency and transportation crews can do their jobs to clear them.” 

Cooper announced that one woman died and two other people were injured earlier today after their vehicle slid off Interstate 73 in Montgomery County.  A preliminary investigation reveals the car was traveling north on I-73 when the driver lost control, traveled onto the northbound shoulder then down an embankment, striking a tree. 

Since midnight, State Highway Patrol troopers have responded to more than 700 calls for service about half of which were collisions. 

With overnight low temperatures not exceeding the teens, emergency officials caution that black ice – especially on bridges and overpasses – will cause dangerous driving conditions tonight and tomorrow morning. Winter Weather Advisories remain in effect for ice and black ice.

Snow accumulations ranged from 11 inches in Oak Ridge, to 8 inches in the Asheville and Greensboro areas, while communities in the Triangle received between 1 and 6 inches. Eastern and coastal areas saw mostly a wintery mix. Washington County saw as much as half an inch of ice in areas, and Martin County three quarters of an inch. Many Piedmont counties received at least a tenth of an inch of ice in addition to any snow.  Mostly sunny skies will continue into the work week with temperatures gradually warming through Wednesday.

“We cannot stress enough the importance of being safe during extreme cold temperatures,” urged Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks. “Never burn charcoal indoors, nor use your oven for heating purposes as this could lead to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.”  

By late afternoon, utility companies reported about 2,500 customers still without power, down from a peak of more than 30,000 power outages.   

Since Friday, more than 2,500 state transportation employees and contractors have used roughly 1,600 vehicles to apply salt or a sand/salt mix to interstates and primary routes. Crews have been working throughout the weekend on snow removal and de-icing operations to treat much of North Carolina’s 78,000 miles of state-maintained roads.  

“Our transportation crews will continue clearing and treating lower-volume primary and secondary routes Monday and Tuesday,” Acting Transportation Secretary Mike Holder said. “We urge drivers to stay off the roads while our crews do their work. If you have to venture out, be cautious and slow down.”

Governor Cooper declared a State of Emergency on Friday, Jan. 6. and waived vehicle weight and hours of service restrictions to expedite storm response and recovery operations. He also directed the State Highway Patrol to work with other law enforcement and emergency responders statewide to mark abandoned vehicles to ensure that no one is left stranded in the dangerous weather. Additionally, the governor reminded motorists of the state’s quick clearance policy, instructing state transportation crews to clear the road by pushing to the shoulder any vehicles that may impede traffic.  

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 website. 

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. 

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