Schools close, black ice warning issued

Published 1:57 pm Sunday, January 8, 2017

Little snow impacted Beaufort County on Saturday, but officials are now concerned about the combination of ice and frigid temperatures overnight.

“Anywhere where it didn’t get sun it’s nothing but a solid sheet of ice,” Beaufort County Emergency Management Director John Pack said on Sunday afternoon. “When you get out here anywhere the salt went down and the sun shining, it’s fine, but get to a shaded spot? You’re going for a ride.”

The temperature is expected to hit a low of 11 degrees overnight.

In keeping with the dangerous driving conditions, Beaufort County Schools announced that schools will be closed tomorrow, according to the BCS website.

While NCDOT has cleared main and secondary roads, Pack said the concern is roads made wet from snow and ice melting during the day now freezing overnight, creating black ice.

“If that water is still there tonight, it’s going to be ugly,” Pack said. “Other than that, we had a rash of accidents first thing this morning but none of them with life-threatening injuries.”

While there were isolated power outages in Aurora and Blounts Creek on Saturday, Pack said utility company officials aren’t expecting more problems unless the area experiences high winds. Emergency Management is also prepared to open shelters and fire stations as warming centers should the need arise, Pack said.

“If power starts going out and won’t be coming on anytime soon. … We’ll do what we have to do to take care of the people. The fire chiefs have gone through great lengths to have that capability,” Pack said.

He also said because residents stayed off the roads that cleared the way for NCDOT and first responders to do their jobs.

“We appreciate the way people staying home the way they did. We appreciate them heeding the advice that was given, because it’s allowed us to work on the roads and made it safer for first responders,” Pack said.

There remains a National Weather Service winter weather advisory for Beaufort County in effect until 7 a.m. Monday due to the below-freezing temperatures of the roads and the potential for black ice.