Despite several inches of accumulated snow that fell overnight city residents made it without suffering power outages, the city manager said.
City Manager Rich Olson said shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday that there had been no power outages overnight. Crews from the NC Department of Transportation were still clearing roads throughout the city, but Olson urged residents to avoid driving until at least Wednesday afternoon. Police and National Guard soldiers were providing essential personnel, such as medical staff at Albemarle Hospital, with rides to work, Olson said. Police also had already assisted several motorists whose vehicles slid into ditches.
Many businesses were closed Wednesday morning; however, Olson did say that Walmart, the city’s 7-11 stores and Bojangles were open. Also, the Hop-In Store, the Hess gas station and the Food Lion grocery store on N. Road Street were all open by 11:40 a.m.
UPDATE 9:46 A.M. — Business-wise, the McDonald's and Hardees in Hertford are both closed.
Chris Powell, spokesman for Albemarle EMC, also reported that no significant outages occurred in Perquimans County and other AEMC converage areas.
UPDATE 10 A.M. — Mary Beth Newns, Currituck's emergency management director, said Wednesday morning that the overnight hours were quiet without any emergency calls. As well, no one requested emergency shelter.
Also Wednesday morning, Currituck's public works was clearing parking lots and laying salt in hopes that county offices would open Thursday.
"We are making every effort to open the courthouse tomorrow but that decision will hinge on how much progress our (road) crews make today and how far NC DOT gets with clearing the main routes," said Dan Scanlon, Currituck County manager. "I would like to recognize the efforts of these individuals under such adverse conditions."
There were no reports of power outages Wednesday morning in Currituck and no reports of downed trees.
Five trucks from NCDOT were out clearing primary roads Wednesday morning, said Newns, adding that powdery snow, such as Wednesday's snow, rather than sleet, kept ice from clinging to trees and weighing down branches. Newns does not expect DOT to get to secondary roads until Thursday.
Knotts Island reported eight inches of snowfall, while the courthouse area saw about 7 inches. The southern edge of the county had 4 to 5 inches.
UPDATE 10:30 A.M. — In Camden County, Sheriff Tony Perry said there was an accident Wednesday morning but there have been no injuries or fatalities. The accident occurred at NC Highway 343 and Pond Road, where a vehicle slid into a ditch.
US highways 17 and 158 and state highways 34 and 343 are open, but the snow has reduced each of those roads to one lane, Perry said. The roads are also expected to freeze tonight.
Camden Manager Mike Renshaw said he and his staff will monitor the road conditions throughout Wednesday. A decision regarding county government hours for Thursday will be made at a later time.
UPDATE 11:36 A.M. — While many residents took the advice to "hunker down" there were some vehicle accidents in Pasquotank. It also appears there were no problems with frozen or burst water lines.
Sheriff Randy Cartwright said Wednesday that other than several vehicles that slid into ditches no major accidents occurred overnight or early Wednesday morning.
Pasquotank Water Superintendent John Gregory said shortly before 9 a.m. that he had not received any calls regarding broken water lines.
UPDATE 11:44 A.M. — Rodney Bunch, interim Pasquotank County manager, said late Wednesday morning that many of the secondary roads in the county were "in pretty bad shape."
The NC Department of Transportation had only a "small crew" available to clear road and it first had to focus on major roads, including US highways 17 and 158. Bunch advises county residents to avoid travel "if at all possible."
In Pasquotank County, rural, secondary roads outside Elizabeth City were "in pretty bad shape," Interim County Manager Rodney Bunch said late Wednesday morning. He said he was advising county residents to avoid travel "if at all possible." Pasquotank had done "really well" in weathering the snowstorm.
Bunch also said he had not yet decided whether county offices would open Thursday.
The National Weather Service estimated snowfall in Elizabeth City at 3.5 inches Wednesday.
UPDATE 1:10 P.M. — The North Carolina Ferry System suspended service on all seven of its regular routes. Large amounts of snow and ice cover ferry decks, ramps, and terminal parking lots, and in some cases roads leading to the ferry terminals are impassible.
Crews will continue to monitor the situation at each terminal, and each route will resume operations as soon as it can safely do so. Real-time updates are available on the North Carolina Ferry System’s Facebook page, and on its Twitter account (@NCDOT_Ferry).
UPDATE AT 1:20 P.M.
Shortly after noon Wednesday, Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Management Coordinator Christie Saunders said city and county officials were still deciding whether offices would be open Thursday. She said those determinations, when made, would be posted to Emergency Management's Facebook page. She said the NC Department of Transportation was clearing primary roads as best it could, but widespread snowfall across much of the state had stretched its resources somewhat thin. She did not know if or when secondary roads would be cleared in Pasquotank and Camden,
Until the snow melts off later this week, Saunders encouraged residents to remain extra cautious while driving — she was actually more worried about Thursday than Wednesday. Most people stayed home Wednesday, but traffic will likely be heavier Thursday as people try to get back to business as usual, she said.
Southgate Mall remained closed today, after having closed earlier than usual at 5 p.m. Tuesday. A mall marketing representative, when reached on her cell phone today, said that there is no word yet whether the mall will reopen Thursday.
UPDATE at 2:10 P.M.
In Edenton, Town Manager Anne-Marie Knighton reported an estimated 6 inches of snow hit the town, but she said there was only one power outage. Knighton said the outage occurred approximately 8 p.m. Tuesday, with eight customers without power for approximately three hours.
Knighton said the city did have one call for firefighters today, at approximately 7 a.m., at Mill Village. She said a heating and air conditioning unit froze, causing the fan to burn. She said there was only minor damage.
Overall, Knighton said public works crews have been working to clear snow from the major roads and have been spreading salt and sand at the major intersections.
She said she is seeking guidance from local emergency management officials, but she said she anticipates there will be a delayed reopening of the town hall.
UPDATE at 3:15 P.M.
The trash and recycling collection in Corolla that had previously been postponed from Wednesday to Thursday has been cancelled.
Due to weather and road conditions in the service area (and en route to the service area and disposal sites) Service will resume Wednesday, Feb. 5.
Pasquotank County and Elizabeth City offices will be closed Thursday.
Camden County Manager Mike Renshaw has just confirmed his county's offices will be closed Thursday to all but essential public safety and public works personnel.
Elizabeth City Deputy Fire Chief Dale Smith was part of a team of officials working at the local Emergency Operations Center on Wednesday. The center was partially activated on Tuesday and teams have been monitoring weather reports and coordinating responses as needed.
Smith said there have not been any reports of any major accidents or fatalities in the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank-Camden area. "Everything has been kind of quiet right now," he said.
Smith the main reports have been of vehicles running off roads, but he said damage reports have been minor. He said some of the main roads are in decent condition, but are not completely safe. He said the back roads remain covered with snow.
He said he and his fellow officials are urging residents not to go out unless absolutely necessary.
Local Emergency Management Coordinator Christy Saunders was in a meeting Tuesday afternoon and not immediately available, but Smith said no emergency shelter is in operation at this time. Saunders later said 6 to 10 inches of fell in the Pasquotank-Camden-Elizabeth City area, depending on where one lives.
UPDATE 4:10 P.M.
At the Walmart Supercenter off Halstead Boulevard Extended, store manager Bobby Marchbanks said there were pretty good sized crowds of shoppers on Wednesday. Marchbanks said customers were buying condensed milk and sugar to make snow cream.
Inside the store, customers have been nice, with one customer saying, "Man, this is nice" and "I feel like I have got the whole store to myself and I can just take my time and do what I want," Marchbanks said.
Marchbanks said an independent company was removing snow from the front of the store so people could enter, but he expressed concern about a lack of snow removal from the private Tanglewood Drive. Tanglewood connects the store to Halstead Extended. He said shoppers are having a tough time on Tanglewood, but he said once they enter the store's parking lot, they are fine.
Marchbanks said Halstead Extended was quite rough as he was reporting for work approximately 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, but he said he could see where state road crews had done the best they could by using road graders to remove as much of the snow as possible.
The local Bonjangles' Famous Chicken n' Biscuits, off West Ehringhaus Street, was also open for business Wednesday.
Restaurant management said that many Elizabeth City municipal crews and police officers entered earlier in the day and that many other customers were continuing to enter later in the afternoon.
The management said that a contractor was brought in to clear the parking lot of snow and that plans are to close at 7 p.m., three hours earlier than usual, and to re-open at 7 a.m. Thursday.
UPDATES ON THE SNOW STORM TO FOLLOW.