CHARLOTTE -Travel conditions in the Metrolina region are rapidly deteriorating as a third round of winter weather canvasses Charlotte and neighboring communities.
Counties in Division 10 (Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Union, Stanly, Anson) are reporting snow cover on interstates, primary and secondary roads. As of 2:15 p.m., authorities have shut down both directions of I-277 near Independence Boulevard in uptown Charlotte, and eastbound traffic on Independence Boulevard is currently blocked. Officials have also shut down the flyover ramp from I-77 South to I-485 Outer (Exit 2) until further notice. Motorists can take the Inner Loop to N.C. 49 (Exit 1), then turn around to access the Outer Loop.
The National Weather service is forecasting heavier bands of snow along with sleet and freezing rain for sections of Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Union counties. Most of the mixed precipitation will change back to snow by Thursday morning.
NCDOT is maintaining a full force of 69 employees and more than 100 pieces of. equipment to treat and clear roads in Mecklenburg County through the duration of this storm.
Motorists are reminded that even a 1/4 inch of ice can bring down trees and power lines, blocking roadways. Drivers who encounter downed power lines should not try to drive over them because of the extreme danger. Instead, call 911 for assistance.
NCDOT offers the following 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 them 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; and
- 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 at www.ncdot.gov/travel/twitter. Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. To access it, type "m.ncdot.gov" into the browser of your smartphone and bookmark it to save for future use.
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. It is available for free in the AppStore for iPhones and Google Play for Android devices.