Many Parts Of NC Trying To Dig Out After Major Early Winter Blast
North Carolina is still recovering from two hurricanes and now a powerful winter storm. Some areas are digging out from more than a foot of snow and travel conditions remain treacherous Monday morning.
This massive storm is unusual for North Carolina in December. Some of the biggest problems right now are thousands of power outages and downed trees. The wintry mix has crippled traffic and caused hundreds of accidents. Those include a tractor trailer that ran off U.S. 70 into the Neuse River.
Several emergency shelters are open, primarily in the Western part of the state.
Chris Glass of Maryland came to Winston-Salem with his son Avery and members of a youth basketball team for a local tournament on Saturday.
Like many people, they thought they could beat the storm, but were forced to hunker down in a nearby hotel.
“Yeah we were totally surprised by the weather, especially for North Carolina. Given our home state of Maryland we expect weather like this, but coming to the South we didn’t think that the weather would hit North Carolina that hard," he says. "However we are used to the weather, so we are going to make it work.”
North Carolina remains under a state of emergency. The sleet that fell overnight is making it even harder for businesses and residents to dig their way out this morning. Outside, it looks like a winter wonderland. Sheena Heath is the general manager with the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel on University Parkway in Winston-Salem. The restaurant in the hotel is usually closed on Sunday, but they made a special meal for guests who are riding out the storm.
“It kind of incapacitates the city," says Heath. "We don’t have places to go, things aren’t able to open people aren’t able to get places, so for us a lot of businesses are shut down simply because they just can’t get out. We aren’t equipped to take care of 12 inches of snow in less than a 12 hour time frame."
Several flights have been canceled and many schools are closed Monday.
The National Guard is also in some North Carolina areas assisting with stranded drivers and other service calls. Gov. Roy Cooper says emergency crews are working around the clock to help communities impacted by the storm.
“Our state has been tested like never before but North Carolinians are tough and resilient. We will get through this storm and get back to business and school and get back to communities that were hit hard by Hurricane Florence,” says Cooper.
Meteorologists say many areas will have to deal with melting snow that will refreeze at night. The frozen mix is expected to clear out by Monday afternoon, but the cold temperatures will make travel tricky for a few more days.
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