North Carolina Zoo will be closed to the public through Tuesday because of the winter storm

Male polar bear “Nikita” at the North Carolina Zoo. (Photo credit: Sarah McCrory/NC Zoo)

ASHEBORO, N.C. — The North Carolina Zoo will be closed to the public through Tuesday because of the winter storm.

Once the storm passes, the zoo has more than 500 acres and five miles of trails to clear before it can reopen to the public, the zoo said in a press release on Sunday.

“The Zoo’s priority is to ensure the safety of our staff and essential personnel are continuing to care onsite for the more than 1,600 animals under our care,” zoo officials said.

Many areas of North Carolina have already seen more than a foot of snow and sleet, including here in the Piedmont.

Jefferson and Mount Airy have seen more than 12 inches, while Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem have seen just under 12 inches as of early Sunday afternoon.

Gov. Roy Cooper said crews are working around the clock across North Carolina to clear the roads and help stranded drivers.