Schools delayed after system brings ice, freezing rain to region - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Schools delayed after system brings ice, freezing rain to region

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Freezing rain and some ice has been falling across the viewing area Tuesday morning.

WBTV Meteorologist Al Conklin says rain started to turn into freezing rain as the temperature dipped below 32 degrees just before daybreak.

Blue Ridge Electric in Watauga Co. is reporting 5,226 power outages Tuesday morning. Power was fully restored by 8 a.m.

As of 10:15 p.m. Monday night, there were already reports of sleet and ice in the foothills. Police in Boone were reporting slick roads as of 10:30.

Long View in Burke County reported a tenth of an inch of ice on trees and powerlines Tuesday morning. Power outages were being reported.

Around a quarter of an inch of ice may accumulate on non-road surfaces before it transitions to a cold rain as temperatures rise. This has prompted an Ice Storm Warning for Avery and western Burke Counties until noon Tuesday.

The Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced on Monday evening that it would be treating Charlotte bridges with salt brine.

Beginning at 1:00 a.m. Tuesday, City Street Maintenance crews will be operating on a "Condition A," which calls for 12 trucks, 24 crew members and five support staff to be on the clock.

CDOT will target bridges and culverts on Charlotte streets, hospital entrances and emergencies that are called in.

The rain may be heavy at times Tuesday and Tuesday night before tapering down on Wednesday. Rainfall estimates range between two and four inches.

Pamela Thompson, of Charlotte, is headed out of town for Thanksgiving. She hopes the messy weather is long gone by the time she gets on the road.

"I'm cautious," she said. "I drive for everybody on the road. I'm watching this car in front of me, this car behind me and maintaining a steady speed."

There is a slight chance the rain could turn to snow before the moisture clears out Wednesday, but no major accumulation is expected.

"We are going to be ready," said Johnny Scism at the DOT Highway yard in Morganton.

Scism said it is the earliest he can remember that crews have had to prepare for winter weather in Morganton.

Most schools in the foothills have announced a three hour delay for Tuesday morning in anticipation of the early winter storm.

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In the mountains, though, DOT officials say the bad weather is just about on schedule.

"It is time for it," said Charles Pritchett at the highway yard in Boone.

Pritchett doesn't think it will be a major event but is preparing just in case.

Trucks were being lined up Monday and a full crew was expected to come in and work all night. Keeping roads clear is critical for the economy in the mountains, said officials.

Thanksgiving week is a major tourism time.

Ski resorts have opened or are opening, and students from Appalachian State University will also need to be able to get home for the holidays.

"I am a bit worried so I am leaving tonight," said Alex Friend of Charlotte.

Ashley Piegori said she is staying on campus until Wednesday and is a little worried about getting home to Raleigh then.

"I have a tattoo appointment so hopefully I will make it," she said.

DOT officials say the worst conditions are expected in the overnight hours and drivers should be able to get where they are going by the time mid-morning arrives.

"Conditions should improve by then," said Pritchett.

The inclimate weather could also affect air travel. 500 canceled flights were canceled at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport as a precaution.

There were no cancellations at Charlotte Douglas as of Monday night; just one delay.

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