Skip to comments.Winter Storm Pax: Raleigh-Durham Drivers Deal with Atlanta-like Gridlock Wednesday
Posted on 02/12/2014 7:11:00 PM PST by Pan_Yan
Interstates remained gridlocked around the Raleigh-Durham area Wednesday night, creating eerily similarities to the traffic nightmare in Atlanta just two weeks ago.
The trouble started around lunch as businesses and schools released early, just as the heaviest snow started falling. NCDOT online maps showed no one was moving on I-40, I-85 and other major roads.
According to ABC 11 in Raleigh, police weren't even responding to minor accidents, instead telling drivers to exchange license and insurance information. Officers want to clear the roads as quickly as possible. One driver in Durham told The Weather Channel he'd only gone one mile in three and a half hours.
(Excerpt) Read more at weather.com ...
But I've got to ask: don't you guys watch the news?
I have been indoors since 11:00 a.m. yesterday!
It happened in NoVa 3 years ago.
I just got off the phone with a very old friend who lives just East of Asheville.
He mentioned that the snow was pouring down while we were talking.
I’ve been at work here in Atlanta since 5:30 yesterday morning. It rained ice drops for 12 hours and finally took a break. The snow is supposed to start in another hour or so and go all night. At least most people stayed home this time.
Wouldn’t have done much good. It went from clear and fine with dry roads, to treacherous, in less than 30 minutes.
I am still stunned at how fast the roads became dangerous.
I knew snow was expected and I was going home as soon as it started. I went to lunch early, at 11:30, so as to have that out of the way when the snow arrived around noon and I could just close up and leave.
Between leaving for lunch and returning to work to close up, the roads were already bad. They went bad so fast, that pretty much everyone was caught out.
Worst I have seen here in central NC in a long time.
Not in the amount of snow, which is about 8 inches at the moment with sleet coming down, but in the speed of the deterioration of conditions.
Deja vu all over again.
I thought school was canceled for the day, no? (My kids are off to college and beyond so I wasn't paying attention but at least that is what they said on WRAL)
Raleigh's last major "problem" with weather was, I think, in 2005(?) when people were stuck out on the roads over night after a half inch of ice.
As with Raleigh and Atlanta, the problem isn't the local government or highway departments, it's the idiots (majority you can count on are yankees) that have heard the forecasts for days and still think they can drive in this crap because they are from up north. They start sliding around, the roads get blocked up, and the highway department trucks can't get where they need to go.
The problem Atlanta had, and I assume Raleigh has, is that the ground was warm and temperatures hovered right above freezing. Sure, the crews came by and salted. The first 30 minutes of rain/sleet/snow melted as soon as it touched the ground and washed all the salt away. Then as soon as the ground temperature dipped it all became an ice rink.
Hey, I resemble that remark.
Will February is Groundhog month.
Will they be naming farts next?
I would not wish Atlanta rush-hour traffic upon my worst enemy on a NICE, SUNNY DAY.
Having lived in both places, I will sat that the worst “mountain road” I ever had to face in Illinois was an overpass. Smug Northerners will have their knuckles popping through the skin after 15 minutes of driving in two inches of (unplowed, untreated) snow on a two-lane, hilly road with no shoulders and a 50 foot, tree-lined dropoff on the RH side. Been there, done that, and I had to throw out those pants.
Exactly what happened to me today. Not a flake in the sky, decided to run out for gas. Had to wait in line for fifteen minutes and by the time I had finished, the road was covered and it was snowing hard. Only had 1/2mi to get home, immediately called my husband who has an eight mile commute. Took him an hour and a half. This was at noon.
Haha! But it’s true. Northeners can’t comprehend the snow/mixed precip line and what that means in the south. And I have worked with quite a few yankees who feel the weather warnings aren’t put out for them because they have been driving in snow since they were 16 years old. Where they fail is that they don’t hear that nasty four-letter word.... I.I.C.E. ;-)
It all depends...
My old Honda CRX with good all-season tires could handle those 2” of untouched snow almost as if it was not there. It’s main problem was relatively low clearance and light weight, so if the snow was much over 6” deep, you could not plow through... Refrozen ruts would throw you all over the place, too.
My later Mazda MX-3 was a great handling car, but not on ice and snow. Our MPV is lousy on snow but almost decent on ice if it’s broken up at all.
But the clear winner is:
Since our daughter is getting old enough that family adventures in our local National Forest, Wildlife Management Areas, etc., make sense, we bought a used Subaru Outback, and I put good snow tires on it (mainly for negotiating muddy roads and fording creeks.) This thing is incredible: It’s good on ice and will go through snow up to 9” deep - maybe more if it’s fluffy stuff. That latter is per YouTube vids - we haven’t had 9”+ of snow to try it on. But, I can confirm that 6”+ of snow is not even a challenge. BTW, if you want a laugh, check out the YouTube vids - some are hilarious!
Note that while a couple of the Subaru vids are with All-season tires on the car, GOOD snow tires are a considerable further improvement. I would also note that there ARE other competent AWD and 4WD vehicles out there that would probably do well with good tires on them too.
I doubt many drivers in Raleigh-Durham, much less Atlanta, have snow tires...
There's some truth to that. But I think perhaps a bigger factor is that up North, when they do get ice (Toronto just had a pretty bad ice storm last Dec.), the road crews are out pretty quickly, spreading salt and / or cinders, which give one at least some traction. The further south one goes, the less capacity the transportation depts. have to do that.
The nasty thing about ice storms the further north you go is that they are more likely to be followed by a week or more with temperatures that never break the freezing mark, and may go subzero. If the damage to the electrical grid is heavy and widespread, restoration of electrical power can take weeks, so conditions can be pretty miserable for those not prepared or lacking alternate sources of heat. There can be major problems with pipes breaking, too.
Salt is supposed to melt the snow as soon as it touches the ground and NOT wash away.
The problem is I don’t think Atlanta salts the roads.
The problem is I dont think Atlanta salts the roads.
Here in the DFW area, they pre-treat the overpasses, etc., when they know the icing is coming. They use a mix of sand and magnesium cloride. ...Unless it’s a severe ice storm, it helps to keep the traffic moving; though slowly.
Our cars don’t rust out like those up North that use the harder salt treatment. Learned as a teen to always check for any evidence of rust, as used cars often were shipped South from the North and from places that had suffered floods.
In recent times most autos are undercoated during manufacturing, but previously the buyer/owner had to pay extra to have that done.
But my clean sports car sits in the garage waiting for a heavy rain to wash all the salt off the road.