Officials asking residents to stay off roads

Published 6:08 pm Thursday, January 4, 2018

Beaufort County residents awoke to a snow-covered landscape Thursday morning, after a unique winter storm plowed up the eastern seaboard, bringing with it snow, ice and bitter winds.

Most of the county got 4-to-6 inches of snow, with some northern parts of the county receiving more, according to officials. Unlike most eastern North Carolina snow events, this snow will be sticking around, as will the cold temperatures and wind, said Chris Newkirk, operations chief of fire and emergency services, with Beaufort County Emergency Services.

“We’re not expecting to get above freezing until sometime Monday,” Newkirk said, adding that strong winds will continue through most of Friday. “The elements outside are going to continue to remain harsh through the weekend.”

Newkirk said road conditions will remain hazardous, as the storm dropped “a pretty good layer of ice underneath packed snow.”

North Carolina Department of Transportation workers were out plowing roads overnight Wednesday into Thursday, starting with major highways — U.S. Highway 264 and U.S. 17 — before moving on to North Carolina highways such as N.C. 99 an N.C. 33. Newkirk said DOT probably would not get to secondary roads until Friday.

Regardless of whether a road has been plowed, officials are warning drivers to beware: everything that melts during the day will turn back to ice at night.

“As we approach the evening hours of the next several days, that refreeze is going to be a concern, a hazard for anybody that’s traveling,” Newkirk said. “Right now, we are just trying to encourage people to stay off the roadways, and allow our DOT, public works and first responders to do everything they need to do.”

Temperatures are not expected to rise above freezing until Monday.