While the vast majority of North Carolina saw the snow stop falling by Thursday morning, on the Outer Banks snow accumulation continued into the morning piling on some of the thickest snowfall in the state.
According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data, snow accumulation of eight inches was seen in two areas of the state over the last 24 hours, the swath of land from Greensboro to Durham and north to the state line and at the coast near Nags Head.
Accumulation of six inches was seen from Morganton to Raleigh and south to Albemarle.
The rest of the state saw between one and five inches, with the Cape Fear Region receiving a dusting of snow that was expected to disappear quickly.
Direct sunshine across the majority of the state was expected to melt some of the snowfall but subfreezing temperatures covered the entire state going into Thursday morning ready to re-freeze whatever melt the sunlight brought, meaning dangerous driving conditions across much of the state.
Gov. Roy Cooper warned residents about the dropping temperatures, which are lower than Wednesday’s, saying that as the temperature fell Wednesday reports of traffic accidents increased.
Cooper urged “extreme caution” for those who must go out and asked those that could avoid going out to do so.
“We cannot stress it enough for everyone to stay off the roads unless you have no choice,” Cooper said. “The state’s transportation workers continue to clear the primary roads and troopers and first responders are helping motorists in need. Staying off the roads allows these employees to do their jobs more safely, which in turn makes it safer for everyone else.”
State Highway Patrol reported nearly 1,600 traffic accidents as of Wednesday evening but no storm related deaths.
As of Wednesday evening about 30,000 Duke Energy Progress customers were without power across the Carolinas with that number down to about 8,500 by Thursday morning, according to Duke.
The majority of customers still without power were situated southwest of the Raleigh area near Jordan Lake.
Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories remain in effect until Thursday morning for accumulating snow, black ice and hazardous travel.
Temperatures will remain low going into Thursday night with wind chills in the low teens and even single digits in some lower areas of the state.
In some portions of the mountains the wind chill could be as low as -10 degrees.
North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) had nearly 2,000 employees operating almost 1,400 trucks and graders clearing roads across the state Wednesday, with assistance from more than 650 contractor trucks, Cooper said.
Cooper said that NCDOT had, as of Wednesday, placed about 12,000 tons of salt and more than 2,000 tons of salt/sand mix on state roadways.
To be ready for winter weather, North Carolina Emergency Management officials urge you to:
· Dress warmly for the cold. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
· Keep alternative heating sources and fire extinguishers on hand. Be sure your family knows how to use them.
· Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep electric generators outside and away from open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
· Do not burn charcoal or use a grill indoors.
· Use a NOAA Weather Radio or monitor local news media for changing weather conditions.
· Keep fresh batteries on hand for weather radios and flashlights.
· If your pipes are uninsulated, keep faucets open to a slow drip to prevent pipes from freezing.
· Keep pets inside, out of the cold. · Download the ReadyNC app for more winter weather preparedness information.
The State Highway Patrol offers these tips for travel during winter weather:
· Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include a windshield scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first aid kit and road map.
· Keep your cell phone charged.
· Monitor fuel levels.
· Clear your windshield and other windows of snow and ice before traveling.
· Use headlamps and windshield wipers.
· Plan for delays and longer than usual travel times.
· Increase your following distance and decrease your speed.
· Choose several routes as some roadways may be closed.
· Share your travel plans/routes with others.
· Always be aware of your location in case you become stranded.
· If your vehicle becomes disabled, stay inside the vehicle until assistance arrives. · Contact 911 or *HP in emergency situations only. Visit DriveNC.gov for roadway conditions.