RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Seesawing temperatures across several southern states were gradually melting snow from a wintry storm, but also “transforming slushy roads into treacherous ice,” one governor warned Tuesday.
Scores of schools in Virginia and North Carolina were closed for a second day, and tens of thousands of people were without power in several states. The storm that blew in over the weekend was blamed for at least three deaths in North Carolina. Some roofs buckled under the weight of the snow, with a building collapse killing three horses at a North Carolina farm.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper urged people in hard-hit areas to still think twice about driving. Secondary roads in some places haven’t been plowed, and temperatures were expected to dip into the 20s or teens again overnight, creating the potential for icy spots again Wednesday as melted snow refreezes even on roads that have been cleared.
“My message is simple: If conditions in your area are still dangerous, don’t take the risk,” the governor said. “Sit tight and wait for the sunshine and safety.”
The ice appears to have contributed to at least some crashes Tuesday morning, but no serious injuries were immediately reported. Overall, the North Carolina Highway Patrol has responded to 2,300 accidents since the storm blew in over the weekend.
“Frigid temperatures descended on North Carolina last night, transforming slushy roads into treacherous ice,” Cooper said Tuesday.
Cooper said 60 school districts remain closed after the storm dumped more than 2 feet (0.6 meters) of snow in western parts of the state. A National Weather Service map indicates that more than a third of the state’s 100 counties had accumulations of 6 inches (15 centimeters) or more.
Several roof collapses have been reported in the region. An equestrian building caving in at a Gaston County, North Carolina, farm and killing three horses late Sunday, the owners told The Gaston Gazette.
The governor said crews have restored power to a half-million North Carolina customers, leaving only about 38,000 households without power Tuesday morning. Another 29,000 or so outages remained in South Carolina and Virginia Tuesday, according to the website poweroutage.us.
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