(WGHP) — As the Piedmont Triad prepares for snow and freezing rain over the weekend and into the week, many people are wondering when the roads will be safe to drive on.
There is no simple answer since multiple areas in the Piedmont Triad are likely to experience harsher winter weather than others.
However, Gov. Roy Cooper and NC transportation officials said during a news conference on Saturday that you still shouldn’t drive anywhere on Sunday unless you absolutely have to.
FOX8 Meteorologist Charles Ewing says conditions will be hazardous throughout Sunday and most of Monday as well, especially Monday morning.
On Monday afternoon, the roads should clear up slightly, but the risk of refreezing means road conditions likely won’t be ideal until later in the week.
You can check ReadyNC for plans on how to prepare for the winter storm and DriveNC to monitor road conditions in real-time.
Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette said that over 1,200 NC Department of Transportation employees and contractors have been pre-treating the roads since Thursday. Nearly two-and-a-half-million gallons of brine have been spread by crews.
Crews have more than 160,000 tons of salt on hand. Over 400 trucks are staged and ready to go.
Response times are expected to be slower than usual due to labor shortages impacting crews around the state.
Snow will begin moving in from west to east around 3 a.m. on Sunday. Snow accumulation of less than a half-inch is possible at first. It’ll remain snowy, especially in the Triad and points northwest, for a good chunk of the morning.
The snow will begin to turn into a snow/sleet mix as the afternoon progresses, especially to the south and east of the Triad. The northwestern counties can expect more snow than ice.
In the late afternoon to early evening, the snow/sleet mix will change into a sleet/freezing rain mix. It’s possible we’ll get one to three inches of snow and sleet.
Higher snow and sleet totals are across the mountains and Wilkes County.
Expect the sleety mix to change back into snow in the evening and into the night on Sunday. Icy buildups on tree limbs and powerlines could impact power for people across the Piedmont Triad.
The snowfall should come to a stop either late Sunday night or early Monday morning just past midnight.
A few snow showers are possible before the system moves out during the night. Lows on Sunday night will be in the mid to upper 20s. Winds will remain strong with gusts over 20 mph.
While the snow and freezing rain aren’t expected to extend their stay into Monday, early morning lows in the 20s mean it’s likely the snow and ice will stick around.
The sunshine will come out for the afternoon, with a high around 40.
Expect thawing and refreezing in the early parts of the week, which could snarl the morning commute. Even if it’s no longer snowing, it’s important to be cautious of icy patches and unplowed roads.
Power outages and difficult travel are likely all weekend and into Monday.
To prepare for winter weather, North Carolina Emergency Management officials recommend these tips:
- Always keep at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food and a supply of medication in your home.
- Keep cell phones and mobile devices charged in case of power outages.
- Keep fresh batteries on hand for weather radios and flashlights.
- Dress warmly. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
- Properly vent kerosene heaters and ensure generators are operated outside and away from open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Never burn charcoal indoors or use a gas grill indoors.
- Use a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio or a weather alert app on your phone to receive emergency weather alerts.
- Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first-aid kit and road map.
- Make an emergency supplies kit for your pet and include medical records, leash and feeding supplies, enough food and for several days and pet travel carrier.
- Do not leave pets outside for long periods of time during freezing weather.