CHARLOTTE: NC residents retrieve cars, wait for power - WNCN: News, Weather

NC residents retrieve cars, wait for power

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -

Winter took one final swing at North Carolina, but the marks it left behind will take some time to heal.
    
The second part of the storm left a snow-weary state with another coating on Thursday, further burying those cars already left behind because of the first part of the storm a day earlier. It also made it more difficult for crews trying to clear streets and roads.
    
The state Highway Patrol had towed 139 abandoned vehicles as of Thursday morning, Gov. Pat McCrory said. Patrol officials said cars posing an immediate safety threat were towed, and some left in travel lanes were pulled to the roadside.
    
Mike Spears, 30, of Raleigh didn't wait for roads to clear before retrieving his Mustang convertible. The rear-wheel-drive muscle car slid off the road repeatedly Wednesday, each time righted by motorists behind him who jumped out to push Spears back onto the trail. He was nearly out of fuel when he rolled it off the side of a four-lane city street near Central Prison.
    
"When I got here, my (fuel) light turned on and as I was sliding for the third or fourth time, I said, you know what, I'm done. I don't want to chance running into someone else or running out of gas," Spears said.
    
Spears brought friends and a pickup truck back to the spot Thursday to try to get it back onto the pavement, and they eventually succeeded in getting the Mustang on the road again.
    
While ice continues to make travel treacherous, staying at home isn't much better for a large number of residents.
    
State officials said an estimated 122,000 power outages were reported statewide Thursday afternoon. Of those, about 36,000 power outages are in the Piedmont and about 21,000 in the mountains and foothills.
    
Snowfall totals ranged from 12 to 14 inches in northwestern North Carolina, with 14 inches also falling in Statesville, said meteorologist Nick Petro of the National Weather Service in Raleigh. South of Statesville, Charlotte reported 7 inches. In the Triad area of Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point, totals were generally in the 4- to 6-inch range with 7 to 8 inches in some locations. About 4 inches to 6 inches fell in the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, he said.
    
While the storm caused plenty of problems, it's not historic, he said. "It wouldn't make the top 10 in terms of snowfall," Petro said, adding that it will take a few days for streets to clear completely, as temperatures rise during the day and fall at night, causing melted snow to refreeze.
    
In Charlotte, city transportation workers toiled during the Thursday morning snow to clear major streets and roads. The normally busy Tryon Street in the uptown was reduced to bucket loaders and dump trucks trying to keep the thoroughfare clear. Police cruisers blocked portions of the street to allow the workers to clean the street unimpeded.
    
Those workers had an audience. Pedestrians strolled up and down the street, some of them in the roadway. A few of them were exercising themselves, while others were walking their dogs. Among the dog walkers was Matt Livigni, who was just happy to be in Charlotte without enduring a delay at an airport.
    
Livigni had been in warm and sunny Jamaica on Wednesday before flying back to the cold and snow at home. He was walking his three rescue dogs, and said the storm amounted to a warm-up act, so to speak.
    
"It's a good practice session for us because we're going to be moving to Toronto in a couple of months," he said, referring to an upcoming three-year work assignment. "We're going to have to deal with this snow up there."
    
Officials attributed three deaths to the storm, including a Pender County man who died Wednesday when a tree limb broke off an ice-covered tree and struck him outside his home in a mobile home park in Rocky Point. Two people also died in traffic accidents in Moore and Chatham counties.

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