Winter storm updates: Icy roads among lingering threats across Charlotte area

·6 min read

While Charlotte may have dodged the worst of a large winter weather system moving through the region, the combination of snow, ice and sleet still brought much of the city and region to a standstill Sunday and Monday.

And with more low temperatures in the forecast through the first half of the week, the effects of Winter Storm Izzy are likely to linger.

Here are the latest updates:

Charlotte road conditions still hazardous

With snow and ice still on the ground, road conditions remained a major concern Monday.

Across the state, crews were working to clear roads based on priority. Interstates and four-lane highways are tended to first, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation, followed by federal and state highways then secondary roads.

And though roads were treated and plowed Sunday evening, temperatures dropped below freezing overnight, posing a risk to Monday morning drivers.

According to the DOT, there were five wrecks Monday on I-77 in Charlotte between 4 and 7 a.m. All of them were near central Charlotte, and two involved overturned vehicles. There were no reports of injuries.

There were two more accidents on I-85 in Gaston County, one northbound near the McAdenville exit and another southbound near the Belmont exit.

The DOT urged drivers to stay home Monday morning, adding that refreezing on some roads may create more hazardous conditions.

With black ice possible, make sure you know these winter weather driving tips

Charlotte weather forecast this week

Subfreezing overnight temperatures are predicted to continue through midweek, though daytime highs are expected to reach the 40s through Thursday.

Sunday’s storm was much less severe than forecasters had feared. Meteorologists had initially predicted dangerous ice accumulations that could have brought down tree limbs and power lines.

“We kind of dodged a bullet, as far as power outages go,” said Scott Krentz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

But there will still be some hazards to watch out for this week, he said, mostly on the roads.

Temperatures will drop below freezing at night for the next few days, so Krentz warned drivers to watch for patches of black ice, especially early in the morning.

But streets will be “probably near normal by Wednesday,” Krentz said as above-freezing temperatures thaw snow and ice during the day.

The National Weather Service is also monitoring the possibility of more winter weather later this week, with a 30% chance of snow showers on Friday. But it seems likely that another storm would bring a fresh dusting of snow to North Carolina, not the freezing rain and winds combination that could wreak havoc.

How much snow, ice fell in Charlotte?

About 2.1 inches of snow and sleet had fallen in the Charlotte area as of 4 p.m. Sunday, the National Weather Service’s office in Greer, S.C.

“If it were pure snow, it would have been more, but the sleet compacts it down,” meteorologist Jake Wimberley told the Observer.

Snowfall totals were measurably higher in Western North Carolina, where between 7 and 10 inches fell in communities such as Hendersonville, the NWS said.

The heart of Charlotte dodged much of the heaviest ice accumulation, according to Wimberley.

A resident in the Monroe area reported about a quarter inch of ice to the NWS Greer office. Another report showed about 0.2 inches in Denver, N.C. A Mint Hill resident reported about a half inch of ice accumulation at their home, the weather service said.

The storm still stands to be the most significant winter weather to hit the Carolinas in more than three years.

Motorists attempt to push a car out of the median along Independence Boulevard on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, as snow and sleet blanket the roadway. Subfreezing temperatures overnight threatened to create travel conditions from dangerous across the area.
Motorists attempt to push a car out of the median along Independence Boulevard on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, as snow and sleet blanket the roadway. Subfreezing temperatures overnight threatened to create travel conditions from dangerous across the area.

Thousands still without power in NC, SC

There were 12,000 power outages reported across North Carolina as of 5:45 p.m. Monday, down from 31,740 at 8:45 a.m. Monday, the state Department of Public Safety’s tracker showed

That early number was down from nearly double that number on Sunday evening.

As of Monday morning, there were only 28 outages in Mecklenburg County. Nearby Union County had nearly 850 outages, the map showed. Outages were much more severe in counties

Charlotte-based Duke Energy, a main provider in the region, reported about 2,130 outages across North and South Carolina as of about 9 a.m. Monday. That impacts more than 43,000 customers, according to the company’s outage map.

A lone traveler sits in the baggage claim area at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Sunday, January 16, 2022 as a wintry mix blanketed the area.
A lone traveler sits in the baggage claim area at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Sunday, January 16, 2022 as a wintry mix blanketed the area.

Emergency shelters closed

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office and the American Red Cross are demobilizing four emergency shelters opened Sunday in response to the storm, according to a Monday morning news release.

The facilities were available to anyone who needs “a warm, safe place to go.” Only about 12 residents used the shelters — with none turning up at two of the sites — and staff are working with those residents to find an existing shelter for them, the release said.

Here are the locations of the emergency shelters, to be demobilized by noon Monday:

Crews Recreation Center, 1201 Crews Road, Matthews

Hopewell High School, 11530 Beatties Ford Road

Mallard Creek High School, 3825 Johnston Oehler Road, Charlotte

Central Piedmont, Worrell Building, 1228 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte

Local shelters have been prepping for the storm’s impact since Saturday, the release said. Homeless service providers in the area will continue to provide expanded occupancy through Wednesday, Jan. 19.

More flights canceled at CLT airport

Flight cancellations at Charlotte Douglas International Airport continued on Monday, with more than 400 flights canceled, according to tracking site FlightAware.com.

On Sunday, just one of the airport’s three runways were cleared, leading to more than 1,200 cancellations.

But as of Monday morning, all runways are open, and most airlines plan to resume full operations by this afternoon, the airport said on its website.

Brooke Gautreaux, left and her husband, Caray, right, walk along Stonewall Street as a wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow fall on Sunday, January 16, 2022.
Brooke Gautreaux, left and her husband, Caray, right, walk along Stonewall Street as a wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow fall on Sunday, January 16, 2022.

Amtrak cancels some trains

Amtrak’s Piedmont Trains 73 and 74, which run between Charlotte and Raleigh, will be shut down Monday “due to winter weather conditions,” the agency announced Sunday on social media.

Those in need of reservation assistance should call 1-800-872-7245.

Will Charlotte-area schools be open?

School districts in the area, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, were already scheduled to be closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr.

CMS officials have said they plan to wait till Monday afternoon to make a call on classes for Tuesday.

Under North Carolina law, districts get up to five days of remote learning for when schools are unable to open due to “severe weather conditions, energy shortages, power failures, or other emergency situations,” the (Raleigh) News & Observer previously reported.

StarMed closes COVID test sites

StarMed’s Charlotte-area COVID-19 testing and vaccinations sites will be closed Monday “because of likely icy road conditions,” the health care company said Sunday.

Additionally, StarMed’s urgent cares at 4001 Tuckaseegee Road and 5344 Central Ave. and antibody treatment center at 491 N. Wendover Road won’t open till noon Monday.

“StarMed officials will continue to monitor weather conditions and staffing as we decide on Tuesday’s plan of operation,” spokesman Cliff Mehrtens said in a statement.

A couple walks their dog during winter weather in Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday, January 16, 2022.
A couple walks their dog during winter weather in Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday, January 16, 2022.

Trash pickup in Charlotte

Because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday, Charlotte’s Solid Waste Services planned a one-day delay in trash and recycling pickup this week.

Monday collections will occur on Tuesday and slide one day through Saturday, the agency said in a tweet on Sunday.

Staff writer Michael Gordon contributed to this story.

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