The snow has stopped falling, and the Cape Fear region is waking up Thursday morning to a winter wonderland. Government offices, schools, morning flights, and many businesses are shut down for the second day in row. Despite some optimism late Wednesday, with some organizations planning to re-open at 10 AM, including New Hanover County Government offices and the Battleship, officials reconsidered Thursday morning and are staying closed.
The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office posted pictures on Facebook of Department of Transportation snow plows hitting the streets in Southport Thursday morning. Photos from deputies around the region showing icy, snow-covered roads appeared with pleas to stay home and off the roads.
Snow accumulation varied around the region, according to the National Weather Service, from two to four inches – with Watha in Pender County seeing the most at four-point-three inches.
Zak Whicker is Deputy Director for New Hanover County Emergency Management. He says while officials closed several areas last night due to hazardous road conditions, DOT crews have been out there brining all night and into the morning.
"It’s been able to open up several areas that were previously closed. Currently, the Dan Cameron Bridge, Forest Hills Drive, and I-140 are open now. Previously, they were closed. Isabelle Holmes [Bridge] remains open, and MLK is closed in area it was closed yesterday. Wilmington Police Department is out there blocking Martin Luther King Junior Parkway."
And while those areas have reopened, Whicker says that’s not a green light to jump in the car.
"If at all possible don’t drive in snow or ice. If you can stay home, there’s no reason to be out there on the roads and endangering your safety if the road conditions are not suitable. Sometimes with the rain, it’ll wash the brine away before it can really take effect. If you have to be on the road, leave plenty of room between you and other cars and approach all bridges with caution because they tend to accumulate ice first."
Dave Loewenthal of the National Weather Service says he expects to see general improvement by early to mid-afternoon since temperatures should get above freezing by 11 AM with some bright sunshine. Whether that window is long enough to clear up the roads, however, is still a question.
"Mainly just stay bundled up because the wind chill values are going down into single digits. It’s going to stay pretty windy today, so we’re going to have some pretty low wind chills."
A wind chill advisory is set to go into effect early Friday morning.