Eastern NC prepares for another winter storm; expects more snow than ice

CHARLOTTE — Starting Thursday, snow, sleet, freezing rain and ice are expected to cause significant winter impacts in central and eastern regions of North Carolina.

Both North and South Carolina have already declared a State of Emergency ahead of the winter storm.

Gov. Roy Cooper held a news conference Thursday where he advised people to prepare for the storm, especially those in the eastern part of the state.

>> We want to see what’s happening in your neighborhood. You can submit pictures and videos by clicking here.

He also activated National Guard troops to help with transportation and other needs across the state. 114 soldiers with high clearance vehicles, trucks and four-wheel drive ambulances are staging in central and eastern North Carolina Thursday.

To stay on top of changing weather conditions be sure to download our free WSOC-TV Weather app.

Anchor Genevieve Curtis spent Friday in Union County, where the storm was expected to bring more snow than ice. She said NCDOT had crews out Friday morning to start working on the roads in Union, Stanly and Anson counties, and they’ll see how the day progresses. They said their biggest concern was ice forming in the below-freezing temperatures.

“If you see a spot that looks kind of shiny, that’s probably ice, so you have to think of black ice being around in the morning and most likely Saturday, as well,” said NCDOT spokesperson Jen Thompson.

Curtis said she saw Duke Energy crews driving down from the mountains to provide aid in Wilmington, where eastern counties are expected to take the brunt of the storm.

Business owners in the area said they are going to stay open so people have a place to go if they lose power at home.

Channel 9 reporter Erika Jackson was in Lancaster County Friday afternoon, where snow flurries are coming down. The flurries were described as light and fluffy.

Jackson said she spoke to several managers of businesses on Main Street. They said they plan to continue operating as normal for now, but that could change.

Friday night, Jackson covered snowfall in Matthews, as large snowflakes covered cars parked along North Trade Street.

Bars remained open as of 11 p.m. Business owners in the area said their top priority is making sure workers and guests get home safely. But many people said they really just need cleared sidewalks.

“A couple years ago, I don’t think we would’ve had that amount of people that live in this area. But in the last two to three years, it’s been a big, massive growth — a lot of apartments, downtown living, people living close by; and people don’t have to rely (on)cars or Ubers. So there’s people that are around, they can just pop over,” Ray Barry, general manager at Grace O’Malley’s Irish Public House, said.

NCDOT prepares for another winter storm on its way to the Carolinas

NCDOT crews started treating roads Wednesday ahead of Friday’s winter storm chance.

An ice storm warning was issued in northeastern South Carolina and southeastern North Carolina, where rain was expected to change Thursday night to mixed precipitation that includes freezing rain. The area could receive up to a quarter inch of ice before Sunday.

An initial wave of snow could dump several inches on parts of eastern Virginia and North Carolina Thursday night. A more significant round of snow is expected to arrive Friday night to Saturday morning. Parts of the area could get 3 to 5 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service.

Channel 9 could see salt trucks and plows lines up at a North Carolina Department of Transportation facility in northeast Charlotte. There were notes on the windshields denoting which areas the trucks will go to.

We are not expecting nearly as much ice from the coming storm, so the NCDOT is preparing in a different way than it did for Sunday’s storm.

“With the first one, we put out brine solution. We aren’t doing it with this one because it’s going to wash out in the rain and we don’t want to waste our resources,” said NCDOT spokesperson Jen Thompson.

Before Driving

  • Be sure your vehicle is running well and equipped properly for driving on potentially dangerous roads.
  • You should have a supply kit that includes an ice scraper, snow brush, extra windshield wiper fluid and anti-freeze and a basic automotive tool kit that includes jumper cables and flares.
  • Put in supply kit in your trunk in case you get stranded. Include a flashlight, first-aid kit, blanket, shovel, sand (to give tires traction), non-perishable snacks and drinking water and safety flares. You might want to include other items based on your personal needs.
  • Be sure you have at least a half-tank of gas in your vehicle (short commutes can turn into long ones when a storm hits) and a full reservoir of windshield washer fluid.

Venturing Out

First, don’t go out unless you absolutely have to. If you must:

  • Slow down and maintain a safe following distance between you and other vehicles. Pass with extreme caution. Excessive speed is the No. 1 cause of wrecks in winter weather.
  • Do not use cruise control.
  • Approach bridges and overpasses with extreme caution since they accumulate ice first. Do not apply your brakes while on a bridge.
  • Come to a complete stop or yield the right of way when approaching an intersection where traffic lights are out. Treat this scenario as a four-way stop.
  • Clear as much as possible snow and ice from your vehicle – from the windows, mirrors, roof, hood, trunk, bumper, headlights and tail lights – of snow and ice to keep it from blowing off and obscuring your view or hitting other drivers’ vehicles.
  • Drive smoothly, without sudden accelerating, braking or turning.

Black Ice

Appearing as wet spots on a road, black ice is often the result of melting ice and snow that refreezes into thin layers.

Although NCDOT does its best to treat areas that are prone to black ice, it is unpredictable, and most of the time, drivers aren’t aware of it until it’s too late.

  • Don’t drive unless you absolutely have to do so. The safest way to avoid black ice is to stay off the roads
  • If you do have to drive, do so at a slow speed and leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you.

If You Start to Slide

  • Don’t panic.
  • Avoid using your brakes, if possible. If you have to, use them gently. (Apply gentle, steady pressure to anti-lock brakes. For standard, brakes that are not anti-lock, pump the brake pedal gently to avoid locking up).
  • Wait for your vehicle to slow down enough to regain traction before gently accelerating.
  • For rear-wheel skids, turn the steering wheel in the direction your rear wheels are headed. Instead of focusing on what your vehicle might be headed toward, focus on getting out of the skid.
  • For front-wheel skids, shift into neutral and don’t try to steer immediately. When your vehicle begins to slow down, steer in the direction that you want your vehicle to go. Then, put the vehicle into gear and gently accelerate.
  • If you begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Applying the brakes will cause you to further lose control of your vehicle.

If You Get Stuck

  • Don’t spin your wheels (doing so will only dig you in deeper). Instead, turn them from side to side to help clear snow, and then turn the steering wheel so the tires are as straight as possible.
  • Use a shovel to clear the snow in front of and behind your tires.
  • Spread cat litter, sand or salt in the cleared areas around your drive wheels.
  • Another strategy involves rocking the vehicle back and forth. (Check your owner’s manual first; some vehicle transmissions might be damaged using this strategy.) Shift from forward to reverse and back again, using a light touch on the gas pedal. Resist the temptation to spin your wheels.

You can find more tips and resources from North and South Carolina Emergency Management here:

Winter Weather Guide:

>> In the video below, Reporter Anthony Kustura has the latest information from NCDOT officials.