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Wintry weather on the way

By Hugh Fisher
hfisher@salisburypost.com
The season’s first big blast of winter weather is on the way.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for the Piedmont of North Carolina, including Rowan and nearby counties.
Snow is expected to start falling early this afternoon, mixing with rain in the evening hours, then changing to a mix of snow and sleet overnight.
Accumulations of 2 to 4 inches are predicted.
The North Carolina mountains could receive 6 to 10 inches of snow, according to forecasters.
Temperatures both today and overnight are expected to hover around freezing.
Many local residents started early yesterday making preparations for a possible snowfall.
One woman came to Bernhardt Hardware in downtown Salisbury and bought several plastic sleds for her grandchildren, employee Amanda Lewis said.
“Some of them are buying for Christmas, but they’ll give them to their kids tomorrow if it does snow,” Lewis said.
Snow shovels and cold weather gear were also on display at the front of the store.
Trucks began spraying salt brine on main roads and Interstate 85 at noon yesterday.
John Thomason, supervisor with the N.C. Department of Transportation in Rowan County, said plans to treat roads had already been underway, because it wasn’t clear how the storm would develop.
“We hope it’s snow,” he said. “That’s easier to deal with than ice.”
The salt brine pre-treats road surfaces by sticking to pavement and keeping ice from bonding to the roadway during the first few hours of winter weather.
And snow removal contractors will be on standby to assist when snow begins.
The Department of Transportation prioritizes which roads are cleared first, focusing on strategic corridors such as interstates and other multi-lane primary routes that are essential to the movement of intrastate and regional traffic.
NCDOT then works to clear lower-volume primary roads and secondary roads, and then subdivision streets.
The Department of Transportation asks that motorists avoid travel if possible, and take the following precautions if it’s absolutely necessary to drive:
– Reduce speed and leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles.
– Use caution approaching bridges and overpasses as they accumulate ice first.
Don’t apply your brakes while crossing over bridges when ice may exist.
– If you begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide.
Do not apply the brakes as that will cause further loss of control of the car.
– Come to a complete stop or yield the right of way when approaching an intersection where traffic lights are out. Treat this scenario as a four-way stop.
– In the event of an accident, you can contact the Highway Patrol statewide by calling *HP (*47) on your mobile phone, or call the county emergency center by dialing 911.
Log on to our Web site, www.salisburypost.com for updates on local weather conditions and closings.

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