01/09/17 — Temperatures to remain low until Tuesday

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Temperatures to remain low until Tuesday

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 9, 2017 10:01 AM

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The fountain on Center Street is frozen this morning as the county experienced freezing temperatures over the weekend.

Wayne County residents can expect to continue to shiver as sub-freezing temperatures linger through Tuesday morning.

But by the time Thursday arrives residents will be able to trade in their winter gear for beach wear as highs are expected to hit 70.

Up to 10 inches of snow and sleet fell in places across the state on Saturday. Totals in Wayne County ranged from 0.2 inches in Mount Olive up to 2 inches in the northern portion of the county.

About an inch fell in Goldsboro.

Forecasters predict temperatures won't get above freezing in much of the state before Tuesday afternoon, a big problem in a place where officials depend on usually mild weather to melt away the ice and snow on less-traveled routes.

School systems across North Carolina, including in Wayne County, canceled today's classes in part because of icy roads, but also because of bitter cold temperatures making it dangerous for children without proper clothes to wait for buses and difficult to keep buildings warm.

Wayne Community College is closed as well.

Wayne County government offices are operating on a regular schedule.

There were about six calls overnight to the Wayne County 911 about vehicles that slid into ditches, said Mel Powers, Wayne County Office of Emergency Services director.

There have been no reports of injuries, he said.

The Arctic air mass that brought the bitter cold and dumped a wintery mix of snow and ice over the area is still in place, and most of the state remains under a winter weather advisory through noon Tuesday when temperatures begin to moderate.

Skies are forecast to be mostly sunny today with a high near 35 falling to a low of near 15 overnight.

Tuesday's high will be near 47 with an overnight low of around 38.

The warm-up pace quickens Wednesday when the high is expected to be near 63 before climbing to near 70 on Thursday and Friday.

The high will be near 57 on Saturday and 59 on Sunday.

"I am ready for it. I will take that forecast for the weekend," said Luther Thompson, state Department of Transportation maintenance supervisor for Wayne County.

Thompson and his DOT crews have spent the past several days spreading either brine or salt on county roads to combat the icy conditions.

As of this morning most of the major highways were clear, but bridges and overpasses where black ice is prone to form remain a concern, he said.

Also, it appears that most of the icy mix fell north of the Neuse River, especially in northern Wayne County, Thompson said.

Sections of some roads there including N.C. 581 and N.C. 222 were still covered, he said. Also, some secondary roads in the Grantham, Dobbersville and Seven Springs area still need work, he said.

DOT crews will concentrate on those areas today, he said.

The bitterly cold weather affects the ability of salt and brine to work as temperatures dip below 20 degrees, he said.

While it was still frigid on Sunday, sunny conditions did help with some melting, Thompson said.

For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on Twitter. Also, visit the DOT's Traveler Information Management System online at http://tims.ncdot.gov/tims/default.aspx.

Four deaths have been blamed on the East Coast storm, which dropped more than a foot of snow in southern New England, caused a former governor to fall on his icy driveway in Mississippi and could bring the first below-zero weather to parts of North Carolina in more than 20 years.

One person died in Montgomery County when a car slid off icy Interstate 73/74 into a tree Sunday morning, Gov. Roy Cooper said.

Three deaths related to the storm occurred in Virginia, Georgia and Kentucky, and officials said they were the result of cars traveling on roads made slick by ice. Other traffic deaths were being investigated to determine if weather played a factor.

The National Weather Service had winter weather advisories in effect for 75 of North Carolina's 100 counties until late Monday morning. Driving conditions were dangerous across because of leftover snow and ice and cold temperatures.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.