Winter Storm - Latest News
Last updated 4:44 p.m.
Update 4:44 p.m.:
From Durham PD: "The Durham Police Department's grace period for moving vehicles abandoned due to Wednesday's storm ends today. The Police Department will start towing any vehicles blocking or partially blocking travel lanes. The vehicle owners will be responsible for the towing fees. If you check on your vehicle and find that it has been towed, please contact the Police Department's front desk at (919) 560-4427 to find out where the vehicle has been towed."
Update 3:42 p.m.:
This is pretty great. Wake County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) sent out a note of thanks to 20 people who assisted a neighbor during the storm:
EMS was transporting a patient who had suffered cardiac arrest in the street during the snow storm. As EMS workers moved through Van Dyke Av. off Hillsborough St. the ambulance was not able to quickly climb the steep hill due to the rapid accumulation while on scene. Supervisors with 4-wheel drive response units were called to the scene to transfer the patient to the hospital. That's when approximately about 30 citizens jumped into action by assisting EMS staff to physically carry the patient to the top of the hill to meet the waiting EMS vehicle. Not only did the same citizens assist in carrying the patient to the waiting vehicle, but they also assisted EMS in transferring EMS equipment from the relief vehicle in order to assure there was adequate space for the safe transport of the patient. "Wake County EMS would like to offer our sincerest thank you to those that helped us on Van Dyke, and all over Wake County through the storm," said Jeffrey Hammerstein, District Chief with Wake County EMS. "We often hear words of thanks from residents for being out working during severe weather, but we truly could not do our jobs without the support of those around us in the community." As paramedics proceeded to Rex Hospital with the resuscitated victim, those same citizens worked together with shovels and kitty litter to help free the ambulance and get them on their way. EMS officials are aware that someone may have recorded video of the rescue and would like to obtain a copy, so that they may be able to identify those who unselfishly assisted paramedics.
Update 3:28 p.m.:
Update 3:12 p.m.:
Update 2:44 p.m.:
Update 2:39 p.m.:
Did you have to leave your car on the side of the road during the storm? Was your car towed? Likely you will be responsible for the cost of the tow. Due to a so called "Quick Clearance Law," any vehicles left in the road (as opposed to a lot or a ditch) will be towed at the owner's expense.
Highway Patrol spokesman, Jeff Gordon: "By law, by statute, it's written in the law that if you leave your vehicle in the roadway, you'll be responsible. And I'm speaking on behalf of the legal registered owner."
Gordon says those payments will go to the tow companies contracted to move the vehicles, not highway patrol.
Update 11:19 a.m.:
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety says about 48,000 customers are without power this morning. A vast majority of them, 41,000, are in the eastern third of the state.
Update 10:27 a.m.:
DATA/Durham and the Bull City Connector has resumed weekday service, but buses might be unable to serve portions of routes in neighborhoods because of icy conditions. Triangle Transit, C-Tran/Cary and Chapel Hill Transit are up and running. EZ Rider services will NOT operate. CAT/Capital Area Transit service is underway as is Accessible Raleigh Transit service. The R--LINE will provide service until 2:15 a.m. tomorrow.
Update 9:53 a.m.:
Raleigh media producer Penn Holderness, famous for his "XMAS Jammies" viral video (13 million plus views), returns with "Snow Day, The Musical."
Update 9:46 a.m.
Durham man heads out to help with his 4-wheeler. Reporter Jorge Valencia has the story.
Update 9:26 a.m.:
WUNC listener Amy MacDonald posted this picture in response to our Facebook query asking for images of the snow:
Juline Chevalier posted this picture, from Durham on Thursday:
Update 9:12 a.m.:
Young reporter in Durham tells what the storm looks like in his neighborhood. "This may have just been the craziest snow day yet."
Update 8:58 a.m.:
Update 6:50 a.m.:
Duke Energy estimates when the power will return for some North Carolina counties hardest hit by the storm:
Anson County – Saturday, noon
Cabarrus County – Saturday, 11:45 p.m.
Catawba County – Friday, 3 p.m.
Columbus County – Saturday, 11:45 p.m.
Gaston County – Friday, 3 p.m.
Lincoln County – Friday, 3 p.m.
Mecklenburg County – Saturday, noon
New Hanover County, Saturday, 11:45 p.m.
Rowan County – Saturday, 11:45 p.m.
Robeson County – Saturday, 11:45 p.m.
Stanly County – Saturday, 11:45 p.m.
Union County – Friday, 3 p.m.
Update 6:46 a.m.:
Public schools in North Carolina are required to be in session for 185 days or 1,025 hours. Some school officials say they may look to Spring Break or Saturdays for make-up days.
Update 6:42 a.m.:
The two-day snow-and-ice storm has finally stopped, but hazardous road conditions remain.
Kathleen Carroll is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Raleigh. She says temperatures rose into the upper 30s yesterday, causing the snow to start melting.
"The problem is that it didn't really dry out a whole lot before the sun set and temperatures started to fall again. So what's we've seen over night is a pretty good development of black ice on area roads."
Carroll says there's a Winter Weather advisory in effect until 10 a.m., so drivers should consider that when planning a morning commute.
Skies should be clearer today with highs in the upper 30s and 40s, but Carroll says there's no way to tell when streets and roads will be completely clear and dry.
The Tennessee Valley Authority says five of the top 10 energy usage days in its history occurred last month as the region saw three waves of low temperatures. Authority President and CEO Bill Johnson says January was demanding for the nation's largest public utility, which serves about 9 million people in seven southeastern states. Johnson said increased power usage will lead to higher bills during the next couple of months for consumers, adding that affordable energy is TVA's priority.
THURSDAY: Update 5:45 p.m.:
Update 5:40 p.m.:
Reporter Reema Khrais found kids in Chatham county enjoying the weather.
Update 5:32 p.m.:
We've asked WUNC listeners to share their favorite images from the storm. Here's one:
Update 5:23 p.m.:
Update 5:15 p.m.:
Info from NC State Emergency Response Team about dealing with abandoned vehicles:
- For vehicles that have been abandoned along the roadway: Highway Patrol, National Guard and/or NCDOT crews will check to be sure there are no occupants. If there are, troopers will get the occupants to a safe location.
- Highway Patrol is tagging the abandoned vehicles to show that they've been checked. Those vehicles are being left in place UNLESS they are blocking the road.
- Vehicle owners can go back -ONCE IT IS SAFE TO DO SO - and get their vehicles.
- If cars or trucks are the path of the salt/sand trucks, the DOT Incident Management Assistance Patrol will move those vehicles to the shoulder where possible. In other cases, the Highway Patrol and local law enforcement are coordinating with towing companies to move vehicles to a safe location.
Update 5:02 p.m.:
A North Carolina family of six is recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning after trying to keep warm by bringing a charcoal grill indoors. All are expected to survive.
Lost heat? Leave generators, grills, or other fuel-burning devices outdoors. DHHS says 400 people die and 20,000 need emergency treatment a year across the country due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Update 4:58 p.m.:
What was it like for those who stayed overnight at the Streets at Southpoint Mall last night? "It was the BEST,” said Laura, who works at the Sleep Number store. “Because I was just laying on a really luxurious bed at zero gravity looking at my phone at all these people stuck and I’m like ‘I’ll get out when I can.’”
Dave Dewitt's full story, including the interview with the man who got locked inside the mall is here.
Update 4:20 p.m.:
Officials at RDU say both runways are open and ready for commercial flights to resume. Many airline carriers are planning on reduced schedules throughout the rest of the day, though. JetBlue, Air Canada Jazz and United Airlines have canceled all flights scheduled for the rest of the day. Main roads leading to the airport have been cleared, but motorists should use caution when driving there. Contact your airline to make sure first!
Also, the number of power outages across North Carolina is going down, even as the second snow and freezing rain event in as many days makes its way across the state. North Carolina Emergency Management reports that 120,000 customers are currently without power. (That’s about a ten percent decrease from earlier this afternoon.)
Wake County is now at just below 10,000 customers without power. Power outages are below 1,000 in the rest of the Triangle and Triad.
The worst-hit area is still the southeastern part of the state. Around 40,000 customers in and around Wilmington are still without power.
Update Thur 3:56 p.m.:
Nathan Ramsey (R) represents Buncombe county in the General Assembly. Ramsey is a dairy farmer and an attorney as well. He's tweeted some great shots from his farm today:
Update Thur 1:31 p.m.:
We're asking Facebook fans to share their snow pictures. Here are the first two:
Your submissions, too
If you have a snow day shot you'd like to share, you can leave on as a comment on our Facebook page, or tweet it to use at @wunc.
Update Thurs 1:00 p.m.:
There's a picture that's been making the social media rounds, showing up all over Facebook and Twitter. It shows a car on fire on Glenwood Avenue Wednesday afternoon.
At first many people assumed it was photoshopped, but, as WRAL reports, it's legit.
Here's the original, surprising iPhone capture that went viral:
Update 11:45 a.m.:
Update 11:21 a.m.:
"As snow and ice blanketed almost our entire state yesterday, the threat of dangerous road conditions and power outages remains today," said Governor McCrory. "Another round of wintry weather is expected this afternoon. It is important to stay off the roads so our first responders can address the safety concerns of our citizens and clear the roads. We have warned of the threats of this storm and taken necessary precautions; however, this large storm has posed unique and severe threats throughout our state. Stay tuned to local media and pay attention to the weather." - Governor McCrory
Update 11:15 a.m.:
Update 10:37 a.m.:
Update 10:25 a.m.:
Update 10:21 a.m.:
Chapel Hill Transit services will not operate bus routes today. Crews have been working through the night and continue to work to address road conditions. Tomorrow's transit details will be announces later today.
Update 10:18 a.m.:
Department of Transportation officials say they're still pulling out cars that got stranded during yesterday's snow fall. The Durham Sheriff's Office says they responded to 52 crashes and 37 stranded motorists.
Major streets across the Triangle were littered with cars that drivers abandoned.
Jamie O'Brient lives in the Big Creek Area of Durham. He says he picked up more than 20 people on his four-wheeler:
"They had parked and had been walking upwards of five miles, and I gave most people rides to the gas station or to the Harris Teeter right there at the end of Garrett Road because they were open and they could at least get warm there."
If drivers cannot find their cars, they can also contact the North Carolina Department of Transportation at 919-733-3861.
Update 10:13 a.m.:
About 14,000 customers are without power in Wake County this morning. In Durham, power has been restored to more than 2,000 customers in the past hour. Statewide, about 80,000 customer do not have power. That number topped 100,000 earlier this morning. The largest cluster of people without electricity is in the southeastern part of the state. That area saw more ice early in the day yesterday. Duke Energy officials say they have more than 3,000 line-workers and crew members working to restore power. The company is also calling in additional help from other states.Three emergency shelters are operating there, and others are functional in Johnston, Moore and Guilford Counties.
Lu Espositio of the Red Cross says shelters are open to anyone in need, but she warns that roads are still treacherous:
"You really have to decide: Are you able to shelter in place and stay warm enough where it's safer at home than is is on the road? Or is it not safe for you to be at home, and it's worth the risk of getting on the road?"
Esposito says families should bring sleeping bags, toiletries and any medicine they'll need. Information about shelters is available at their website, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.
Update 10:10 a.m.:
RDU International Airport says it has cleared runways for cargo flights. The first departure of the day is scheduled for 11 a-m. However, many airlines will not resume their schedules until mid to late afternoon today.
RDU says passengers with travel plans over the next several days should contact their airline to determine the status of their flights. All passenger train service in North Carolina and all connecting bus service is canceled. Most train stations will be closed.
Update 10:09 a.m.:
The North Carolina Department of Safety is reporting more than 90 thousand utility customers are without power. Duke Energy says 17-thousand are without power in Wake County alone. The Red Cross says three emergency shelters are operating in Wake County, but residents should consider treacherous roadways when deciding whether to go there.
Update 10:02 a.m.:
Gurnal Scott reports about this storm in this story that aired nationally on NPR. Best quote? "Don't put your stupid hat on, at this point in time." - Governor McCrory:
Update 9:34 a.m.:
Update 7:41 a.m.:
The National Guard is out on roadways looking for stranded motorists and taking them to emergency shelters.
The North Carolina Department of Safety tweeted that more than 90,000 electric customers in the state were without power around 6 a.m.
(And remember, a customer is not a singular person, a customer represents a household. So one customer could equal a family of four.)
Update 7:38 a.m.:
"So we saw a lot of cars along the side of the road, we saw a mail truck stuck, we saw a guy get out of his car and use the bathroom. Lots of people walking, sledding, making the most of it." - UNC student Kesha Hudson. Her twenty minute commute took four hours yesterday. Full story here.
Update 7:36 a.m.:
Likely a moot point, but here's the list of cancelations.
Update 7:14 a.m.:
Yesterday's winter storm slowed North Carolina to a halt. Most schools and many businesses have closed. Our Rebecca Martinez reports that the weather is crippling other infrastructure, too:
"Snow turned to freezing rain, making for slippery roadways across North Carolina. Plows and salt trucks are working around a graveyard of abandoned cars this morning. Hundreds of cars got stuck on shoulders and ramps, and many drivers have set out for shelter on foot. Now, the National Guard is picking up stranded motorists and taking them to emergency shelters. People stuck in cars should be ready to accept rides.
Duke Energy is reporting about 3-thousand power outages. N-C Association of Electric Cooperatives says more than 20-thousand customers in the southeast part of the state are without electricity.
More snow is expected this afternoon. A light dusting in most places, but up to 3 inches, north of I-64."
Update Wed 4:53 p.m.:
Tens of thousands of customers are without power in southeastern North Carolina: more than 50-thousand customers in and around the Wilmington area area. (About half of all customers in Wilmington are without power.) Duke Energy has 33,000 crew members on the ground in North and South Carolina. The company is telling customers to plan for lengthy outages.
Update Wed 4:48 p.m.:
Streets of Southpoint open for those stranded on I-40. Several drivers have are taking shelter and using restrooms. General Manager Patrick Anderson says the building will remain open with the lights turned on as late as is needed.
Update Wed 4:28 p.m.: