CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As darkness fell Wednesday evening and temperatures dropped even further, moisture began to freeze again on local streets.
The cold temperatures caused ice to form on streets in Mecklenburg County and surrounding areas starting Tuesday. Crews from CDOT and NCDOT began working before the snow and ice fell, and they’ll continue battling the black ice through Wednesday night.
The main concern is on secondary roads and exit ramps to interstates, some of which were still heavily covered in snow and ice.
Several schools are closed again Thursday, including CMS. Click here for the list.
"People we need to make sure they're cautious and don't take to road, unless they have to," Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon said.
Despite street treatment, not all drivers could avoid trouble, and the governor issued the same sentiment.
“We are definitely not in the clear yet,” said Governor Pat McCrory in a press conference Wednesday. “The best advice for today is stay home if you can. Those roads can be dangerous and we don’t want anyone to put themselves in harm’s way.”
CMPD alone said they responded to 500 calls between 4 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. Wednesday, with 78 injuries reported. There were 170 calls for disabled vehicles. At least eight cars slid into ditches on Harris Houston Road in the University area Tuesday night after rush hour. AAA told one driver it would take four hours to get to the scene.
The numbers were better Wednesday. CMPD responded to 97 calls for service with property damage and only one resulting in injuries. There were 27 calls for blocking or disabled vehicles.
Also in Charlotte, CATS operated on detours because of the ice .By Wednesday night, all are back to regular routes with the exception of Route 98 Village Rider-McCoy Road in North Mecklenburg. Check detour updates here. Rail service is running on a regular schedule.
Because of persisting concern, crews in many local counties are asking drivers to be cautious. NCDOT says their attention is now devoted to removing accumulated snow from primary and secondary roads Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Union, Stanly and Anson counties. Since Monday, the department has utilized 177 employees, 175 pieces of equipment, and more than 2,200 tons of salt to pretreat roads and remove ice or snow.
Primary routes in Union, Stanly and Anson counties are mostly clear, but secondary roads are still a danger, and black ice will stick around through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
Along Highway 74 corridor in Union, Anson, and Richmond counties, the weather made for hazardous driving conditions.
From the time the snow started failing, at times turning into freezing rain, all three sheriff’s offices combined to take more than 100 calls of service for wrecks caused by snow or ice. The North Carolina Department of Transportation treated Highway 74 on Monday night and that has seemed to keep the roads in decent shape.
"People aren't use to this," said Patrick Hogan, a manager of the Papa John's Pizza in Rockingham. "If you hit it wrong you're going to go sideways," he said as he gassed up his car at the Wilco gas station on Highway 74.
While primary roads, bridges and overpasses are in decent shape, many back roads are very dangerous.
"We took the two lanes roads and it took forever. The roads where like a sheet of ice," said John Vercoe who drove into Charlotte from Monroe this morning.
The commute, which takes about 20 minutes, took more than an hour today.
"Once we got on the four lane (Highway 74) we were fine," he said.
In a 12-hour period (overnight Tuesday) in South Carolina, SC Highway Patrol responded to 1475 calls for service, of which 817 were reported collisions. SCHP says most of the collisions were minor and were caused by patches of ice.
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