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Plunging temps lead to hazardous travel

The second snowstorm of 2018 in the Roanoke-Chowan area wasn’t as heavy as its predecessor two weeks ago, but drastically colder temperatures Wednesday night will lead to hazardous travel conditions on Thursday.

Depending on location, the R-C area saw 2-to-3 inches in the eastern portion of the region. The heaviest snow totals appear to be in Northampton County, where flakes began to fall earlier Wednesday afternoon. Snow totals there are in the 3-to-5 inch range, with some higher amounts in the western portion of the county.

The main concern, however, centers on the fact that Wednesday night’s temperature in the mid-teens will result in icy roads early Thursday.

That has already led all public school systems in the R-C area (Bertie, Gates, Hertford and Northampton) to cancel classes on Thursday.

District Court proceedings in Bertie and Northampton counties are postponed on Thursday.

Meanwhile, local government offices in Hertford County are closed Thursday. Bertie County and Northampton County local government offices will open on a three-hour delay. The Ahoskie Town Hall will open on a four-hour delay.

If you must travel on Thursday, please exercise extreme caution. Slow down and leave plenty of distance between vehicles traveling in the same direction. Try to avoid sudden braking.

NCDOT will begin immediately working to clear the snow/ice from roads in the affected areas.

“Statewide we have nearly 1,500 employees with more than 1,000 trucks and graders ready to clear roads, with assistance from more than 540 contractor trucks,” said Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon. “Our salt and sand supplies were replenished across the state from the storm earlier this month so plenty of those materials are on hand.”

Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Tuesday to enable expedited storm response and recovery. The declaration also triggers the state’s price gouging laws. He also issued an executive order waiving truck weight, size and hours of service restrictions to ease movement of supplies and equipment.

State troopers are marking abandoned vehicles along the roadway and coordinate with local law enforcement to ensure no one is stranded. State troopers and transportation crews will work to clear disabled vehicles quickly so they don’t impede traffic.

Adverse weather policy is in effect for state employees. State employees should coordinate with their supervisors.

Follow NC Emergency Management and NCDOT on Facebook and Twitter for the latest storm updates. Real-time weather and road conditions, as well as winter safety tips, can be found on the free ReadyNC mobile app or online at readync.org.

Travelers are urged to go to drivenc.gov for up-to-date roadway conditions. Motorists are reminded NOT to call 911 or the State Highway Patrol Communication Centers for roadway conditions.

The local weather will improve as the weekend draws near. In the R-C area, Thursday’s high is forecasted near 40 under mostly sunny skies. It will warm into the low to mid 50’s on Friday and Saturday. Overnight lows are expected to be in the mid 20’s.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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