Swath of South faces wintry mess: Snow, sleet, freezing rain

11 December, 2018, 01:16 | Author: Kevin Carter
  • North Carolina governor urges residents to get prepare for storm

Raleigh, the state capital, faced an uncertain mix of sleet and freezing rain, the National Weather Service said.

The National Weather Service said a "prolonged period of snow" began late Saturday and would last until Monday in the region, with the heaviest snow in northwest North Carolina and southern Virginia. Gusty winds of 25-35 miles per hour combined with snow and especially ice accumulation will result in scattered to numerous downed trees and power lines producing power outages.

As of Sunday, there were more than 15,000 customers without power in the western part of the state, according to Appalachian Power. Residents in Oak Park, North Carolina lost power after an electrical transformer exploded near their home.

Those hoping to escape the storm may be out of luck.

The storm prompted more than 1,000 flight cancellations at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, the sixth-busiest airport in the country, and other airports across the region, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware, early Monday.

Virginia State Police said Interstate 81 in far southwest Virginia was particularly risky, with snow coming down faster Sunday afternoon than crews could clear it. Police said several tractor-trailers slid off the highway.

There were 6,980 Wake County customers without power Sunday morning.

The Durham County Sheriff's Office tweeted a photo of a damaged patrol auto, warning drivers should be prepared for hidden dangers.

"We're preparing for days of impact, not hours", Cooper said.

Several hundred miles east, in Kinston, divers were searching for another driver, whose tractor-trailer apparently crashed into the Neuse River.

Cooper urged people to stay off the roads as cars skidded out of control with drivers facing whiteout conditions.

More news: US warplanes crash off Japan; 1 rescued, 6 missing

There is also a winter weather advisory issued for areas north of Charlottesville and in the Shenandoah Valley.

Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Saturday.

Cooper asked residents to check on vulnerable loved ones and the elderly, if possible.

North Carolina Highway Patrol said anyone who must drive should leave twice as much following space behind the next auto, in case that vehicle loses control.

Meteorologists warn that more slick and icy roads may come as snow and ice melt then freeze back over again as temperatures drop again later in the day.

"Ice is becoming a big problem". But the weather service says it could be followed by more ice than expected, up to a quarter inch.

"Watch out for deadly black ice, especially tonight and tomorrow morning", Cooper said.

In Lubbock, Texas Tech University rescheduled all Saturday final exams for Sunday.

About 180,000 outages tracked by poweroutages.us on Sunday were concentrated in North Carolina, where forecasters have said some mountain areas could get up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) of snow or more.

Grounded airline passengers might remain stuck Monday as more flights get canceled. Hundreds more are expected Monday.

Another 320 flights scheduled for Monday were also grounded as parts of Virginia were also impacted by the heavy snowfall.

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