Governor, state urges caution due to icy and frigid weather

Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal
Footprints and tire tracks in the snow on Woodcroft Parkway in Durham Saturday

RALEIGH — Two days after a storm dropped snow and ice throughout much of central and eastern North Carolina, the state is still trying to thaw out due to temperatures approaching record lows. Gov. Roy Cooper, just a week into his term, has urged people to stay off the roads due to icy conditions. “Temperatures are still dangerously cold and many roads remain icy,” Cooper said in a statement. “Please be careful and stay off the roads so our emergency and transportation crews can do their jobs to clear them.”A 44-year-old Montgomery County woman was killed when her car slid off Interstate 73 Sunday morning. The accident also left her two elderly parents in critical condition, the North Carolina Highway Patrol said.More than 40 counties closed their courts Monday due to the weather. A list of those closed can be found here.While many braced for and received heavy snowfall from the storm (Oak Ridge received 11 inches), some areas were spared. Wake County saw a mix of snow and ice that was enough to cancel school Monday, but only amounted to 3 inches in the hardest hit places. Much of Raleigh, which was warned of 8 inches or more, saw an inch or less of accumulation.Major interstates were mostly cleared, but sides roads in the areas impacted by the storm remain iced over due to the frigid temperatures. Temperatures are expected to climb about 10 degrees a day in the coming days, with 70 degrees possible in the state by Friday.”Our transportation crews will continue clearing and treating lower-volume primary and secondary routes Monday and Tuesday,” Acting Transportation Secretary Mike Holder said. “We urge drivers to stay off the roads while our crews do their work. If you have to venture out, be cautious and slow down.”State officials urged people to avoid problems at home related to the cold by allowing water to trickle to keep pipes from freezing and keeping cabinets open to expose pipes to warmth. They also remind people not to use generators and gas or charcoal grills indoors, and to exercise caution when using space heaters.”We cannot stress enough the importance of being safe during extreme cold temperatures,” urged Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks.”Never burn charcoal indoors, nor use your oven for heating purposes as this could lead to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.”All pets should be brought indoors due to the harsh conditions, and any person going outside should not expose their skin to the low temperatures, a release cautioned. For those who lose power the Department of Emergency Management offers these tips for getting through the outage: Keep alternative heating sources prepared. If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them.Turn off electrical appliances that were on when the power went off to avoid a power surge when the electricity is restored.Use flashlights. Do not use candles; they greatly increase the chance of having a fire in your home. Limit your activities to no more than two rooms and close off unneeded rooms. Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors and cover windows at night to keep cold air out and warm air in. If you have well water, fill up tubs and buckets with water so if the power goes out you still have water.Remember to eat and drink regularly. Food provides the body with energy to produce its own heat. Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration. Wear layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Layering clothes keeps you warmer than a single layer of heavy clothing. Remove layers to avoid overheating, perspiration and subsequent chill.The National Weather Service is forecasting a high of 65 degrees by Thursday for central N.C. and a high near 70 degrees for Friday.