RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina authorities urged residents to stay home Wednesday as most who ventured out had to deal with treacherous roads often covered in ice.
Raleigh Police Sgt. V.R. Johnson was attempting to merge onto Interstate 440 when his cruiser spun off into the snow-covered grass and got turned around.
"Nobody's hurt. Nobody's injured. There's no damage — other than my ego," the officer said as he stood in a shallow ditch beside his idling vehicle. "Just came off at a low speed and just drifted."
After about five minutes of backing up and fishtailing forward, Johnson used his radio to call for help.
"It might be a little awkward, yeah," he said. "But, you know, it happens. Regardless of the best of your efforts to keep it on the road, sometimes it happens."
All across North Carolina, residents awoke to snow and bone-chilling cold. Forecasters called for temperatures to stay below freezing all day for much of the state, raising concern road conditions could remain hazardous through Thursday.
Total accumulations ranged from an inch or two in the Piedmont to close to up to six inches east of Interstate 95. However, in many places in Eastern North Carolina those totals included sleet and ice, ensuring that many roads resembled skating rinks.
More snow and ice could still fall across parts of North Carolina on Wednesday. The National Weather Service said a winter storm warning was in effect along the coast until late afternoon. In the mountains and central part of the state, a winter weather advisory was in effect for snow-covered roads and black ice.
Road crews throughout the state were busy, scrapping highways and spreading salt and sand.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol said the weather was a factor in separate traffic accidents in Surry County that killed two people.
A passenger died Tuesday afternoon when a woman lost control of her pickup truck on a road covered with snow and ice. The truck went down an embankment and hit a tree. Troopers said 68-year-old Jean Conley of Elkin died. Troopers said it appeared the victim was not wearing a seat belt.
About the same time, two vehicles collided on N.C. 104 near Mount Airy. Thirty-seven-year-old Joyce M. McDaniel of Meadows Dan, Va., died. She was a passenger in a minivan involved in the crash. Troopers say the weather contributed to the crash.
The North Carolina Transportation Department said most roads were hazardous Wednesday.
In the hard-hit eastern part of the state, crews were out in full force Wednesday plowing roads and spreading salt and sand, spokeswoman Jennifer Garifo said.
All roads and bridges in the area are open, but most are covered with snow and ice as precipitation continued to fall this morning, she said.
"We're still telling everyone: 'Don't drive unless you have to,'" she said.
Truck driver Roger Ramiro said Wednesday it took an extra hour Wednesday morning for him to get from Charlotte to Greenville, S.C. After filling up with gas, he was ready to jump back on southbound Interstate 85 to continue his trip to Atlanta, where snow and ice brought traffic to a standstill overnight and into the morning.