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Back-to-back winter impact

RALEIGH – Back-to-back winter storms over a period of three days, both bringing measurable snowfall, are a rarity for North Carolina.

By today (Thursday), two separate winter storm systems will have moved across the state. The first, on Tuesday, was responsible for two inches of snow in the eastern area; 1-2 inches in the Triangle and Triad areas, 2-3 inches in the Fayetteville and Sandhills areas, and 3-6 inches in the foothills and mountains.

After a day of melting under bright and sunny skies on Wednesday, the state is preparing for a more significant winter storm that moved through the state overnight and is expected to last well into Thursday morning. Accumulations from the second snow storm are forecasted to bring an additional 3 to 6 inches of snow across most of the state; but there is one area through the heart of the Roanoke-Chowan area that could see upwards to 10 inches. The extreme southeastern portion of the state will likely see a wintery mix of snow, sleet and rain.

Governor Pat McCrory activated the State Emergency Operations Center Wednesday afternoon and then, for the second time in two weeks, declared a state of emergency, thus waiving certain vehicle weight and service hour requirements to expedite storm response.

“We are preparing for as much as eight inches of snow across the majority of the state,” Governor McCrory said Wednesday afternoon. “The State Emergency Response Team that consists of multiple state and local agencies worked throughout the afternoon Tuesday and overnight and they have teams mobilized and ready for the next storm.”

Later on Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, State Highway Patrol troopers responded to 2,060 calls for service. Of those, 1,727 were collisions. Troopers typically respond to approximately 1,000 calls in a 24-hour period. There were two storm-related deaths on Tuesday during vehicle accidents, one each in Wake and Onslow counties.

“We urge motorists to stay off the roads adversely impacted by weather unless it is absolutely necessary to travel,” said Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry. “Our state troopers are ready to assist stranded motorists as needed, but the best way to remain safe is to stay off the roads.”

NCDOT crews across the state worked throughout Wednesday to clear roads and treat slick areas with sand and salt, as well as brine roads where possible in advance of winter precipitation.  The department will monitor conditions overnight and crews will be on standby to respond as needed. Full crews will be out in force again on Thursday to continue to clear the roadways of this round of winter weather.

“The safety of both motorists and our team members continues to be our top priority as we work to stay ahead of this storm and its impact to travel throughout the state,” Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said. “Our crews have worked hard today to address quickly changing weather and road conditions, and we urge travelers to use caution and avoid driving if possible as we continue our response efforts and prepare for the arrival of additional snow and ice.”

Real-time weather and road conditions and shelter openings, as well as winter safety tips, can be found on the free ReadyNC mobile app or online at www.readync.org web site.

Travelers are urged to call 511 or go to www.ncdot.org for up to date roadway conditions. Motorists are reminded to call 911 for emergencies only and refrain from calling the State Highway Patrol Communication Centers for roadway conditions.