Several school districts closed Tuesday due to treacherous icy roads

by: Dave Faherty, Alexa Ashwell Updated:

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Many school districts are on a delay Wednesday, click here for full list

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board voted to move the snow make-up day originally scheduled Feb. 20 to Jan. 24. Its other make-up day will still be Feb. 17. 

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Early Wednesday, temps will dip into the upper 30s and there will be a system approaching which will bring showers through the mountains Tuesday night, and a small chance for rain in Charlotte for the Wednesday morning drive.

Press Play for Steve Udelson's complete forecast

[IMAGES: Winter weather hits on Saturday]

Fortunately, it will be warm enough that this will be a rain event only, no snow. Wednesday will be even warmer, with highs in the mid-50s, with 60s returning by Thursday.

We are looking ahead to a small chance for showers returning for the weekend.

[CLICK HERE for recap of weekend winter storm]

Crews work to keep roads safe for motorists

Street crews said it will get harder to treat icy patches that lead to dangerous driving conditions when temperatures drop overnight into Tuesday morning.

(Concerned Charlotte citizens can call dispatch at 704-336-3200 to report icy roads.)

Two of the main challenges slowing the process are the frigid temperatures and areas in the shade, covered by trees.

Monday afternoon, the Lockhart family cleared off ice that's covered their car for three days. The family avoided driving until Monday.

While there are still some slick spots, crews made progress clearing the main roads near their west Charlotte neighborhood.

But it was a much different scene in rural Huntersville, where Christian Roedlich put down salt to cover the slick spot where his driveway meets the road.

[SNOW PICS: Children and dogs enjoying the snow]

"This will be treacherous for a couple days and people always drive fast on it," Roedlich said.

Channel 9 saw drivers speed down and others proceed with caution as the ice crunched under their tires.

Road crews said the interstate and primary roads are 100 percent clear, but it's secondary roads, like Cliff Haven Lane, that have a lot of shade that are still covered with ice.

"They are out right now looking all over the city of Charlotte for any areas we have had bitterly cold freezing temperatures, and that means there is ice everywhere,” Charlotte Department of Transportation spokesperson Linda Durrett said.

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She said crews are spreading salt, but the mix doesn't work when the temperature drops below 20 degrees.

Roedlich and his son shoveled their own path and put down salt to make sure they could leave home safely.

When the temperature drops below 20 degrees, DOT crews stop spraying salt to prevent them from wasting resources.


Winter Weather Guide: 


In north Mecklenburg County -- one of the harder hit areas -- Channel 9 found several neighborhood streets with shiny patches of black ice.

“The melting that happened overnight is going to refreeze and be very treacherous,” said Durrett.

DOT crews have been focusing on clearing neighborhood streets and side roads. The fewer cars on the road means more work can get done.

(Click PLAY for 5 car tricks to beat winter weather)

Road crews told Channel 9 that the extreme cold is posing a challenge and they’ve had to add calcium chloride to their salt mixture to help melt ice.

But it only works when temps stay above 20 degrees. Below that, DOT does not have any chemicals capable of melting the ice.

“A person can be driving along thinking, ‘Oh wow, this road is clear and dry’ and all of a sudden come along an icy patch, that will cause them to spin out of control,” said Durrett.


NCDOT stats on the storm:

  • Almost 2,500 NCDOT employees
  • 2,100 trucks
  • More than 64,000 tons of sand/salt used

Officials urge motorists to drive slowly, and don't be on the roads if you don't need to be.

[SNOW PICS: Viewers sharing their winter weather pictures]

Gov. Roy Cooper warned drivers to not be fooled by the sunshine. He says one person was killed Sunday and two injured when a car skidded off an icy Interstate 73/74 in Montgomery County.

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In South Carolina, DOT leaders said crews will continue de-icing operations on primary and secondary roads throughout Tuesday.

There is still ice and snow on some roads in the northwestern corner of South Carolina, even as forecasters promise warmer weather later this week.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for five counties in the state until noon Tuesday.

Forecasters say snow and ice on the roads make driving dangerous in Oconee, Pickens, Greenville, Spartanburg and Cherokee counties.

Conditions are expected to improve. High temperatures this weekend are expected to reach 60 degrees in the state's mountains.

So far, 311 employees have helped clear streets, using more than 6,100 tons of salt and nearly 900 tons of sand.

Did you snap any photos or take video of the snow/ice? Send them to us at share@wsoctv.com or tag us on Twitter #CLTSnow and we may feature them on air and online!

Channel 9 was also monitoring driving conditions in the High Country, and found that while some roads are clear in the Hickory area, ice was still causing problems.

For the most part, the roads are in good shape, but there are icy stretches that drivers need to be aware of.

Eyewitness News was with firefighters as they responded to a bad crash along Zion Church Road Monday. Witnesses said that the driver hit some ice trying to avoid another car and went off the road.

Mother, 2 children saved after crashing on icy road

Channel 9 was also in Burke County Monday morning when a mother and her two young children slid off the road. Fortunately, they were not hurt.

"(I) hit the ice and I couldn't control it. I hit the brakes. (It was) just scary," said mother Sophie Sheehan.

It happened along Airport Rhodhiss Road, just west of the Hickory Regional Airport. Police said the vehicle overturned and went down a hillside and another driver and his son stopped to help the family.

Keith Harrison and his son didn't see the accident, but saw the overturned vehicle with smoke coming from it.

Harrison sent his son quickly down the hillside to see if anyone was inside. When they heard the 2-year-old girl crying, both father and son scrambled to get them out. 

"I had my son go down there and look and see if anybody was in it,” said Keith Harrison. “And we went down there and got them out safe and sound."

Fortunately, the injuries were not serious, but firefighters told Channel 9 that they saw plenty of ice just getting to the accident scene.

Channel 9 crews drove quite a bit through Hickory, along Highway 321, Interstate 40 and some of the back streets and the roads are, for the most part, pretty clear as of noon.

The DOT will be out on some secondary roads later Monday afternoon, trying to get them all clear.

Finding refuge from the bitter cold

The men's shelter of Charlotte had so many people show up this weekend that they needed to open overflow space just to make room.

Shelter officials said they have accommodated more than 300 men -- that's about 50 percent more than usual for this time of year.

That need is expected to decrease as the weather improves this week.