Road conditions in the Elizabeth City area improved Thursday, but motorists are urged to watch out for remaining ice patches as another shot of very cold air returns today.
All area public schools will be closed today, the third day in a row after Tuesday night’s snowfall followed by Arctic blast Wednesday.
Elizabeth City State University, College of The Albemarle and Mid-Atlantic Christian University will all operate on normal schedules today, officials said.
Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Management Coordinator Christy Saunders is urging motorists to watch for ice that has not melted because the shade from overhead trees, and to watch for slush that hardened overnight.
The temperature will only be 18 degrees at 8 this morning, but with the wind chill factor, will feel like only 5 above zero, according to forecasts.
It will rise a couple of degrees by 11 a.m., but will only feel like 7. It will reach 23 by 1 p.m., but only feel like 12. Winds will be from the northwest at 10 to 11 mph during the morning and early afternoon.
N.C. Transportation Department spokeswoman Jennifer Garifo said Thursday evening that DOT believes the bridges, highways and roads are in good shape, but there are still some icy secondary roads.
“So far, 225 tons of salt has been used in Pasquotank County and 130 tons in Camden County,” Garifo said of DOT’s efforts in putting down de-icing materials. “We will continue to plow as necessary until roads are clear.”
The continued cold is a concern to Dominion N.C. Power’s system because of the extra stress caused by the high load of electricity in use, spokeswoman Bonita Harris said.
Harris urged customers to use energy wisely. If an outage occurs, customers should unplug their appliances in order to help speed up the power restoration process and reduce the chance of further outages, she said.
Meanwhile, despite the continued cold, local government officials are giving the go-ahead to their workers to report for duty today.
After being closed Wednesday, Elizabeth City and Pasquotank County opened their offices Thursday with a two-hour delay and will be open today on a normal schedule.
In Hertford, Town Manager Brandon Shoaf said it will be business as usual Friday morning.
“Most, if not all streets in town were clear by this afternoon,” he said Thursday. “We’ll monitor the four bridges in town and report to dispatch and DOT any issues.”
In Camden County, Manager Mike Renshaw said offices will be on normal operations, as they were on Thursday.
Currituck County offices opened Thursday after a two-hour delay, county spokesman Randall Edwards said. Plans are for offices to operate on a normal schedule today, he said.
Thursday evening, Pasquotank Sheriff Randy Cartwright and Camden Sheriff Tony Perry said while road conditions are better overall, they urge caution due to remaining ice patches.
In Elizabeth City, police Lt. Mike Boone said he believes that the ice on city roads and streets has mostly thawed.
Elizabeth City Fire Marshal Barry Overman said the fire department is working under normal operations and that the department is prepared to respond as needed.
Pasquotank-Camden Emergency Medical Services Director Jerry Newell said today will be business as usual at his agency.
At the Highway Patrol’s Elizabeth City office, Sgt. E.J. Forbes said there have been no fatalities and no major accidents. Forbes on Thursday evening said he counted approximately four wrecks in the area involving minor damage and no injuries.
Patrol officials at the Kitty Hawk office, which serves Currituck, and in Gates County reported no fatalities and no problems Thursday evening.
Local schools closed today include Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools. ECPPS spokesperson Angela Noblitt said today will be an optional teacher workday. Staff may report to work, take appropriate leave or make alternative arrangements with their immediate supervisors, she said.
Perquimans County schools will be closed for students today and it will be an optional teacher work day, starting at 10 a.m. Calendar amendments will be considered by the Board of Education on Monday night.
Edenton-Chowan Schools will be closed today for students. Today is an optional teacher workday for 10-month employees. All employees will operate on a one-hour delay.
Albemarle School will have a two-hour delay for K-12 students, but pre-school will operate on a normal schedule today.
Today at Camden County Public Schools will be an optional teacher workday with no school for students. Wednesday’s make-up day will still be Saturday, Jan. 25, with early release at 1 p.m.
Currituck County Schools will be closed today to students and it will be an optional workday for staff. Make-up for this day will be May 27 for J.P. Knapp and June 12 for all other schools.