Hazardous snow expected to linger
Area drivers are urged to exercise caution — especially during the early morning and nighttime hours — while negotiating Lee County's wintry roads.
While the predicted amount of snow the area was to receive varied by television station and meteorologist, the white stuff is expected to stick in Central Carolina until about mid-day Thursday, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Moneypenny.
“It's going to remain in the subfreezing temperatures until about the middle of Thursday,” he said. “(The snow) is going to be hard to get rid of, and we are looking at probably 3 to 4 inches of snow before it is all said and done with.”
The roads will be extremely treacherous Wednesday and Thursday morning, he said.
“Those early morning commuters really need to be careful,” Moneypenny said.
Sanford Police Maj. Jamie Thomas urged people to stay off the roads unless travel was “absolutely necessary.”
“People need to make sure their windows are clear before they start out, and [that] they drive below the speed limit,” he said late Tuesday. “People will need to increase their following distance and stay in the cleared lanes.”
N.C. Highway Patrol Sgt. Eric Hoffman said he's expecting an increased number of calls for service Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and he also asked people to stay off the roads.
“If you don't need to be out and your job doesn't require it, stay home,” he said. “It's going to be really bad. And if you do have to be out, slow it down and give yourself plenty of time to get to where you are going. Keep plenty of distance between you and the other vehicles.”
Extra troopers were out on the roads throughout today, and people should remain patient as they respond to accidents, Hoffman said.
“It's not unusual to be 50 calls in the hole on a bad weather night,” he said.
Warmer weather will return this weekend as temperatures rise to the mid-50s Friday and Saturday, Moneypenny said.
AAA Carolinas released the following tips for winter driving:
* Increase your following distance 8-10 seconds.
* Brake gradually with steady pressure on the brake.
* If you begin to skid, steer in the direction you want to go. Do not slam on brakes because it can cause you to lose control.
* Be wary on hills and observe how other vehicles are reacting.
* Stay in the most recently cleared lane on snowy, four-lane highways.
* Avoid changing lanes because of potential control loss.
* Avoid using cruise control and be careful crossing bridges and overpasses.
* Accelerate slowly and slow down sooner when approaching an intersection.
* Keep your lights on while driving.
* Check your battery and, when starting your car in the morning, turn on the electricity first and wait 30 seconds for the battery to warm up before starting.
* Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid freezing gas lines.
* Thinner grades of oil are better for colder weather, and frequently check tire pressure.
* Never use wiper blades to clear ice or frost, and never warm up a car in a closed garage.
* Keep an emergency kit in your car that includes a mobile phone, car charger, blankets, flashlights with extra batteries, a first aid kit, drinking water, a small shovel, a sack of sand or kitty litter for traction, a windshield scraper, battery booster cables, emergency reflectors and non-perishable snacks.