Raleigh, NC Governor Pat McCrory briefed citizens from the State Emergency Operations Center Thursdayon the response to last night's snowfall across the state.
"It's not often that the entire state of North Carolina sees significant snowfall like we've seen this week," Governor McCrory said. "While it is beautiful, it also can be dangerous causing downed trees, power outages and treacherous driving conditions. Throughout the morning, we've seen driving conditions improve and we expect that to continue through the afternoon. We still have a lot of work to do in the next 24 hours."
The governor warned motorists to be cautious when driving, and urged everyone to be at their final destination by evening before temperatures start falling and the slush turns to black ice.
The overnight winter storm brought an additional 4 to 6 inches of snow to the mountains, between 3 and 7 inches of snow through much of the Triad, Triangle and central part of the state and 2 to 3 inches throughout greater Charlotte and eastern North Carolina. The southeastern portions received mostly rain.
On Wednesday, the governor activated the State Emergency Operations Center, declared a state of emergency, and waived certain vehicle weight and service hour requirements to expedite storm response.
Power outages climbed steadily overnight, peaking near 230,000 outages around
9 a.m., as the snow transitioned to sleet and rain adding extra weight to trees and power lines. By noon, less than 180,000 were still without power. Most of the outages are the Triangle area.
Two people died Tuesday in separate weather-related vehicle crashes; no other weather-related fatalities have been reported since then.
While checking on stranded motorists in Cherokee County, Trooper R.Y. Ellison came upon a frantic young mother in a vehicle with her infant child. The infant was having trouble breathing and the mother had just called 911. Trooper Ellison helped the mother assist the child and summoned nearby Trooper H.S Robertson, who is an EMT-Paramedic. The two troopers rendered aid for what appeared to be a temporarily blocked airway until a Cherokee EMS unit arrived.
Emergency Management officials are coordinating with law enforcement officers from the Highway Patrol, ALE, Wildlife, and Division of Motor Vehicles License and Theft, along with National Guard.
"Black ice will continue to be a problem in the coming days," said Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry. "Our State Emergency Response Team partners, which includes county and state level emergency management, law enforcement teams, National Guard troops and DOT are all collaborating to respond to constantly changing needs. The best way to remain safe is to stay off the roads that are covered in snow and ice and plan to stay off roads that may be susceptible to refreezing as the temperatures drop after dark."
NCDOT crews continue to work on plowing and treating roads across the state.
As the latest round of winter weather moved in, NCDOT crews again worked through the night to plow and treat snow and ice covered roads. While the wet, slushy nature of the snow makes it easier to push off the roadways, crews in some harder hit areas are removing downed trees and debris from the roads in addition to clearing them of snow and ice. To help speed operations, the department is shifting some crews and equipment from less affected areas to those with greater impacts. The department will continue working throughout the day to clear affected roads, starting with primary routes and then moving on to smaller secondary roads, and crews will also be in place overnight to address any additional issues that arise.
"I want to thank our hard worki