Cold snap ushers in record-breaking lows

by: John Ahrens Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A 130-year-old record low was obliterated Tuesday morning in Charlotte.

Temperatures fell to six degrees -- breaking the record low of 12 degrees set in 1884 -- but the official low may end up a degree or two lower. Temps will not be warming today, with highs only in the mid-20s.

The mountains have had it much worse with dangerous wind chills between 30-40 degrees below zero.

The thaw starts Wednesday with temps finally getting above freezing by noon.

Two rain chances are coming our way later this week. The first looks really light on Thursday and the other is on Saturday. The weekend rain may extend into Sunday for the Panthers game.

Temps will stay below freezing all day Tuesday with highs only in the mid-20s.

Another night with near record cold is in store Tuesday night as the forecasted low stands at 11 degrees.

The Charlotte area will bounce back above freezing by midday Wednesday.

Check out the latest closings and delays

DOT trucks prepare for icy road conditions

The traffic was flowing pretty smoothly Tuesday morning on the interstates as well as secondary roadways, but Charlotte Department of Transportation crews are keeping their eyes out for any moisture that may develop, especially on bridges and overpasses.

A half-dozen trucks loaded up with brine at a Charlotte DOT facility that can make thousands of gallons of brine in just minutes.

The trucks then hit the roads to spread the salt mixture Monday evening.

The brine dries any moist patches on the ground before the temperature drops and they freeze over.

North Carolina DOT had trucks spreading brine on the interstates while the city focuses on the secondary roads.

High winds, bitter cold strikes mountains

The snow continued to fall in the North Carolina mountains Monday, along with very strong winds and cold temperatures.

Earlier in the day, temperatures dropped fast – 4 degrees every hour.

By lunchtime, several of the secondary roads began freezing up, causing crashes.

A pickup truck began to start sliding backward down an icy hillside where it nearly hit another vehicle.

Thaddeus Hughes had to climb out of his car after it ended up on its side. Other drivers got stuck trying to help.

"I was trying to make sure he was alright and I just started sliding backwards," said Clinton Cutrona, a motorist.

The snow began falling as the cold front pushed through early Monday morning with winds gusting to more than 40 mph.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation wasn't taking any chances putting chains on some of the trucks

"The temperature is falling," said Kevin Whittington with the NCDOT. "We've seen it fall 1 degree every 15 to 20 minutes."

The NCDOT said when it drops below 15 degrees, the salt they put down is no longer as effective.

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