Saturday, May 21, 2022

Update: NWS warns dangerous driving conditions, roads will remain unplowed

The Wilmington National Weather Service predicts ice may remain on the roads until Sunday and warns southeastern residents of hazardous driving conditions. (Port City Daily photo /JOHANNA FEREBEE)
The Wilmington National Weather Service predicts ice may remain on the roads until Sunday and warns southeastern residents of hazardous driving conditions. (Port City Daily photo /JOHANNA FEREBEE)

Last update: 12:12 p.m. Thursday – Wilmington crews are not clearing city streets “as removing snow would just expose the ice underneath and exacerbate the hazardous road conditions.” Wilmington Fire Department asks residents not to drive unless absolutely necessary.

SOUTHEASTERN N.C.—Although the winter storm has passed, the cold temperatures that brought it on are set to stick around. That might be bad news for those wondering, “what are the road conditions near me?”

Roads in New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender and surrounding southeastern counties are covered in a wintry mix of snow and ice following a storm North Carolina governor Roy Cooper called “treacherous.”

The Wilmington National Weather Service’s highest priority will remain driving conditions in the area while the temperatures remain at or below freezing until Sunday, according to Mark Bacon, meteorologist for the Wilmington NWS.

“The driving conditions are pretty awful,” Bacon said. “You have to allow a lot of space, a lot of extra stopping.”

With roads covered in ice, Bacon predicts minimal melting until Sunday.

“It’s going to take more than the sun to melt the few inches of snow that we have,” Bacon said.

With a traffic fatality of a 20-year-old man, early Thursday morning in Surf City due to inclement weather and driving conditions, it’s clear the low temperatures and ice on the roads pose a serious risk to motorists in the region.

As of Thursday at noon, Wilmington will not be clearing city streets because removing the top layer of snow would expose ice below, the city wrote in a release.

In light of the hazardous driving conditions, assistant fire chief Sammy Flowers asks that residents avoid the roads at all costs.

“Please advise against venturing out unless it is absolutely necessary,” said Sammy Flowers, assistant fire chief.

Wind chill advisory expected to extend through weekend

The National Weather Service expects to extend its wind chill advisory currently in effect from 3 a.m. until 10 a.m. Friday until Saturday evening.

“Yeah well probably have another one Friday night as well,” Bacon said. “Probably Saturday night too.”

The advisory warns of wind temperatures that may reach as low as zero to five degrees. Exposed skin is subject to frostbit after as little as 30 minutes of exposure to these cold wind chills.

“With the low temperatures it doesn’t hake much wind to drive those wind temperatures into the single digits,” Bacon said.

Residents of the Cape Fear region should limit exposure to their face and hands when outside during the wind chill advisory, and minimize time spent outside.

“Monday I think is when we finally say goodbye to all this because we’re going to see highs in the upper 50s,” Bacon said.


Johanna Ferebee can be reached at johanna@localvoicemedia.com or @j__ferebee on Twitter

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