Much of North Carolina was hit hard by a massive winter storm on Wednesday, snarling roads, flooding Durham-area 911 dispatches with emergency calls, and covering parts of the state with as many as eight inches of snow. The hazardous conditions were forecast to residents for days, as the Post and Courier noted, but the speed at which conditions became dangerous seemed to catch many off guard.
As North Carolina commuters rushed en masse to get home from work when the first flakes fell, the roads filled up with cars. Conditions quickly worsened, and all those vehicles were essentially trapped. Some North Carolinians decided their best bet would be to abandon their cars and walk to safety. Not so, says Raleigh law enforcement: officials told drivers to please not abandon their cars on the road as conditions worsened, because those stranded vehicles would only make it harder for workers to clean up after the storm finishes pummeling the region. Some areas of Durham and Raleigh were at a total standstill, and road conditions are only just now starting to improve.
People are abandoning cars on 54 about 2.5 miles from Smith Center. pic.twitter.com/MCCJJejQ84— Mark Thompson (@mthompsonNR) February 12, 2014
Meanwhile, more than 300,000 customers in the southern U.S. are without power due to the storm, which hit Atlanta earlier today. Parts of Georgia might still get 3/4 of an inch to a full inch of ice. The storm is moving into the D.C. metro area next. It'll hit New York City early Thursday morning, dumping as many as 10 inches of snow, sleet, and freezing rain on the city. Thousands of flights all along the eastern US are already cancelled as the storm makes its way along the coast.