Winter Storm Arrives Bringing Snow, Sleet And Freezing Rain

Winter Storm Arrives Bringing Snow, Sleet And Freezing Rain

8:17am Dec 09, 2018
A driver in a small car follows three snow plows down a major road in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain across a wide swath of the South on Sunday - causing dangerously icy roads, immobilizing snowfalls and power losses to hundreds of thousands of people.(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Updated 8:03 p.m.

Authorities in North Carolina say a driver was killed when a tree fell on a vehicle.

Police in the Charlotte suburb of Matthews said Sunday that the vehicle was traveling down a street when the tree fell on it. A passenger sustained minor injuries.

Police did not immediately release the identity of the driver.

After being struck by the tree, the vehicle traveled onto the front lawn of Matthews Church of God and struck the church, causing minor damage.

Elsewhere, divers have been searching for a missing driver whose tractor-trailer crashed through a guardrail and into a river during the storm.

WRAL-TV reports that five members of a dive team searched the Neuse River in Kinston, North Carolina, for a missing truck driver Sunday.

Sgt. Scott Hemby of the State Highway Patrol said a passer-by reported seeing debris on a bridge over the river early Sunday.

North Carolina Department of Transportation officials used a large boat to help engineers inspect the bridge, while authorities tried to pull the truck out of the water Sunday afternoon.

Updated 5:55 p.m.

The massive storm that’s brought plenty of wintery weather to much of the South has dumped over a foot of snow in parts of the Triad.

As of Sunday afternoon, the region’s highest accumulation reported by the National Weather Service’s Raleigh office was 14.5 inches in Forsyth County. In Guilford County, it was 14.1 inches.

NWS Raleigh is warning drivers to stay off the roads, especially as ice formation is likely to continue. Authorities in North Carolina have already responded to hundreds of traffic accidents and other weather-related calls for service.

The weather has also caused headaches for hundreds of thousands of residents across the state who lost power.

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, there were still more than 203,000 customers without power as of 5:00 p.m.

Updated 4:07 p.m.

Authorities have responded to hundreds of traffic accidents as a winter storm dumps snow and ice on parts of the Southeast.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Sunday that the State Highway Patrol has responded to more than 500 crashes and 1,100 calls for service. Cooper said some crashes had caused major delays on interstate highways.

Virginia State Police Sunday afternoon they'd responded to more than 60 crashes as southern parts of the state have seen more than a foot of snow.

Officials have urged motorists to stay off the road as crews work to clear them of snow and ice.

Updated 1:58 p.m.

A foot of snow has fallen in some parts of the Triad, according to reports. Power outages are growing. As of noon, more than 200,000 North Carolina homes and businesses were without power, mostly in the mountain counties, the Triangle and Mecklenburg County. Utility companies have brought in more than 1,500 crews from other states to help and are working quickly to restore power.

"Enjoy the beauty, but respect the danger. This storm is treacherous, especially if you try to drive in it. Travel conditions are extremely hazardous. Don’t put your life and the lives of first responders at risk by getting out on roads covered with snow and ice,” said Governor Cooper.

Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan has declared a State of Emergency, in conjunction with Guilford County, effective as of 1:30 pm, Sunday, December 9 in response to the winter storm.

Schools are already cancelling class for Monday, including Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and Guilford County schools. Click here for a full list of closures.

Updated 12:00 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper held a press briefing Sunday morning. He said the State of Emergency remains in effect and that there are hours of snow and ice ahead. State officials warn that travel Sunday is treacherous and are urging residents to stay off the roads if possible. North Carolina Highway Patrol has investigated over 500 collisions since midnight. As of 11:30 a.m. power outages in the state totaled 190,273.    

Updated 9:15 a.m.

Duke Energy is reporting 140,656 power outages across North Carolina as of 9 a.m. Sunday morning.

The threat of immobilizing snowfalls, icy roads and possible power outages remains high in a large swath of the South.

Governors and local officials in several states declared emergencies ahead of the storm crossing several Southern states and poised to hit particularly hard in portions of North Carolina and Virginia.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Saturday that residents in the some parts of the state should be ready for a lengthy fight with the storm, which was beginning to dump sleet and snow across its western mountain areas Saturday night.

"We're preparing for days of impact, not hours," Cooper said, urging caution. "This weekend isn't the time to head out to see the winter wonderland. Stay safe where you are. Getting out on dangerous roads could put your life at risk."

Officials have warned residents to prepare emergency kits in impacted areas.

"Virginians should take all necessary precautions to ensure they are prepared for winter weather storm impacts," said Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

The National Weather Service said a "prolonged period of snow" began late Saturday and would last until Monday in the region, with the heaviest snow expected in northwest North Carolina and southern Virginia. Forecasters have said some mountain areas of North Carolina could get up to 12 inches of snow or more.

Heavy rains also were expected elsewhere in other parts of the South, creating possible floods in coastal areas.

North Carolina's largest electric utility, Duke Energy, has said there could be more than 500,000 power outages.

State officials say 1,500 crews from other states are in North Carolina to help with power outages.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the sixth busiest airport in the country, said American Airlines would reduce its operations starting Saturday evening and scattered cancellations are expected through Monday morning. Travelers were advised to check their flight status before heading to the airport. Cancellations were reported on flights from as far as the Midwest.

Signs of a pending monster snowfall were prevalent. Traffic crews treated roads ahead of the storm. Amtrak has canceled or modified some routes because of the storm. And many hardware stores sold out of ice melt.

Individuals can monitor road conditions at drivenc.gov and review tips for preparedness at readync.org.

Copyright 2018 WFDD. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.
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