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While it might have had a delayed start, Wilson saw snow for the second time this month. Snowflakes began to fall here shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday, prompting officials to warn residents about hazardous road conditions that will continue into Thursday.
“It’s going to get colder,” Gordon Deno, Wilson County Emergency Management director said Wednesday. “In the morning, there is potential for black ice. People need to be careful. The best thing to do is stay at home.”
Emergency management officials continued to monitor the storm’s progress throughout the day Wednesday.
“We are sharing information with our partners,” Deno said. “I know it’s coming. We are just waiting for it.”
The winter storm hit the Triangle area Wednesday morning. Much of central North Carolina received several inches of snow by midafternoon, when The Wilson Times went to press early to allow newspaper carriers more time to deliver today’s edition. The snowstorm expected to hit Wilson early in the day slowed down, officials said.
Meteorologists say the snow and sub-freezing temperatures will make roads will be treacherous Thursday. Deno said secondary roads will be worse than primary roads. And the more people who choose to get on the roads, the greater the potential for crashes.
Local law enforcement and troopers will be out in full force monitoring roads and interstates.
“We will have extra personnel out working,” said Wilson Police Department Capt. Kendra Howell. “We have an operational plan in place.”
Howell said residents should not venture out during inclement weather unless it’s absolutely necessary. She said people should drive slower than the posted speed limit when there is any type of wintry mix on the roads.
“You need to leave more distance between you and the car in front of you,” she said. “When you brake, at times your vehicle will slide. Leaving that extra distance will prevent crashes.”
While the snow was expected to end Wednesday night, cold temps will stick around until Thursday night. Thursday’s high is expected to reach 36 degrees with wind chill values as low as 8 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Thursday’s overnight low will dip into the 20s.
Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency Tuesday ahead of the storm.
“The snow is pretty, but it can be dangerous,” Cooper said in statement Wednesday afternoon. “If you don’t have to brave the roads, please don’t.”
Emergency management officials said all of North Carolina would be affected by the storm and urged residents to stay tuned to local forecasts and heed advice from local authorities, the governor’s office said Wednesday.
N.C. Department of Transportation crews were able to prep the major roads across the state over the past several days, putting down more than 2 million gallons of salt brine, according to the state. Crews will be out plowing major roads.
State officials said road crews would be working overnight Wednesday. Officials said in areas where it becomes too cold to effectively plow, they will switch to putting more salt on the roads to get them ready to plow first thing Thursday morning.
“Statewide we have nearly 1,500 employees with more than 1,000 trucks and graders ready to clear roads, with assistance from more than 540 contractor trucks,” Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said Wednesday. “Our salt and sand supplies were replenished across the state from the storm earlier this month, so plenty of those materials are on hand.”
Troopers are marking abandoned vehicles along the roads and will coordinate with local law enforcement to ensure no one is stranded, state officials said. State troopers and transportation crews will also work to clear disabled vehicles quickly so they don’t impede traffic, state officials said.