December’s first wintry mix snarls traffic across Rowan County

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 9, 2017

SALISBURY — The season’s first bit of snow put N.C. Department of Transportation crews into action Friday, and they probably ended up having more work than expected.

After a morning mix of sleet and rain, snowfall began in Salisbury about 1 p.m. Friday, and various periods of snow, sleet and rain persisted throughout the day and night.

First responders and law enforcement officers in Rowan County were hit with a flurry of vehicle accidents in the late afternoon and early evening hours.

Forecasters said precipitation could continue through late this morning. Temperature were expected to climb toward 40 degrees later in the day.

By 4 p.m Friday, roads in the western part of the county were getting snowy and dangerous. Roads were especially icy in the Mooresville area, which saw more snow than Rowan County.

Accumulations looked to be heavier the farther west you were from Rowan County.

Steve Monday, forecaster for Rowan County Weather, said the storm would lead to trace accumulations of up to 2 inches on surfaces other than roads.

Mike Hedrick, county maintenance engineer with DOT, agreed.

“I checked the road temperature early this morning,” Hedrick said Friday. “It was in the mid- to upper 40s.”

Surfaces like bridges, overpasses, low-lying spaces and known trouble spots would be monitored closely, Hedrick said.

Precipitation was expected to be mainly snow by Friday evening, Monday said.

DOT crews remained on call throughout the night and early morning. Trucks were ready to go with salt spreaders and plows.

Hedrick said the local DOT is waiting to see how forecasts pan out in the Rowan-Salisbury area.

“If you look just a little bit south, they’re calling for all rain,” he said. “Just a bit north, in the Winston-Salem area, they’re calling for several inches. We’re just watching the weather right now.”

North Carolina is one of the northernmost areas affected by Winter Storm Benji.

Benji began early Friday morning with snow as far south as Brownsville, Texas. Corpus Christi, Texas, saw an accumulation of up to 4 inches of snow on elevated surfaces.

Hedrick said his crews were waiting by the phone to address problem areas as local law enforcement officials identified them.

“Between contract and state DOT vehicles, we’re pushing 30 trucks here,” Hedrick said.

Contact Andie Foley at 704-797-4246.

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