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Emergency responders discuss overnight weather conditions, future response

There were a small number of traffic incidents overnight Monday, emergency responders said, but no major accidents were reported. However, responders do caution against travel today because of the icy road conditions.

County officials held a conference call Tuesday morning to discuss the overnight conditions and how they’ll prepare for Wednesday.

Frank Thomason, chief of emergency services, said the county saw mostly sleet falling in the early hours on Monday. But residents can expect temperatures in low 30s mid-afternoon today. Thomason said the temperature is expected to drop around six degrees with a wind chill of negative six degrees later in the day.

“Snow will change to rain and remain Saturday and into Sunday,” Thomason said.

Crews with the N.C. Department of Transportation continue to clear roads and officials said they hoped the sun Tuesday would help melt some of the ice.

“With these dipping temperatures, it’s going to be extremely hazardous at night. The stuff that falls during the day will refreeze tonight (Tuesday),” said Kevin Neal, county maintenance engineer.

Neal said county roads will not get de-icing or salt treatment, but they will get plowed.

“We do not have the capacity to de-ice (county roads),” Neal said.

He said Tuesday night, DOT crews wouldn’t be able to do much but “slide around.” However, they’ll be the most effective today.

Neal said there’s not a lot that road crews would be able to do Tuesday night. A small crew was to be on call.

“We hope to get as much as we can while we can so there’s less and fewer places that have issues,” Neal said.

The Salisbury Police reported four accidents Monday night, all of which were minor. The N.C. Highway Patrol reported 47 traffic incidents on Monday, all were minor, officials said.

First Sgt. E.T. Suttles said most of the traffic crashes were attributed to people driving too fast for conditions. He cautioned motorists to drive slower than the posted speed limit to reduce the chance of a collision.

“With it being ice, I’d hope they stay off the road. If they have to travel then don’t try to drive the speed limit. Drive very slow,” Suttles said.

Fire Investigator Deborah Horne said the majority of calls for area fire departments involved traffic collisions. There were no reports of downed power lines, she said.

Red Cross

Monica Bruns, disaster program specialist with the Hanford Dole Chapter of the American Red Cross, said the office had gotten a number of calls between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Monday following a power outage at Old Mocksville Road and Mahaley Avenue.

There was a truck that hit a pole that knocked out power in that area. Residents were calling the Red Cross office looking for a place to get warm.

Bruns said during the conference call there may not be a need for a shelter, but she’d like to have a warming station set up. The warming station would be merely a place for people to get warm. Red Cross volunteers would provide warm drinks for those who would need a place.

The decision was made to have a warming station on standby Tuesday night and make one available Wednesday evening.

Hospital

Officials said there was a power outage Monday night, but the hospital’s generator took over the load. There were no issues reported. Crews had been clearing the parking lots and access points Tuesday morning, officials said.

Schools

Rowan-Salisbury School System officials determined to cancel school for today, but a decision has yet to be made regarding the later part of the week. Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody said during the conference call she’d planned to meet with the school system’s transportation staff and others who are instrumental in helping to determine whether there will be school including emergency management officials, Highway Patrol and Department of Transportation officials.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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