- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The latest on the winter storm in North Carolina (all times local):

6 p.m.

North Carolina officials say a fifth person has died in a traffic accident blamed on the winter weather.

State Highway Patrol Sgt. Michael Baker said a 4-year-old boy died Friday afternoon after the pickup truck carrying his family on Interstate 77 spun out of control and crashed. Baker says the crash happened just before 2 p.m. in Iredell County near Troutman.

Baker says the Ford pickup carrying two adults and their three children all under 8 years old slammed into a tow truck working to haul out a vehicle that had run off the highway earlier. Troopers say the boy was restrained in a child seat and died as a result of the impact.

Motorists have died in separate wrecks since Wednesday in Johnston, Wilkes, Forsyth and Stokes counties.

3:40 p.m.

The combination of snow, sleet and freezing rain falling across North Carolina means power outages are mounting.

Duke Energy reported nearly 18,500 customers without power Friday afternoon in communities from the mountains to the coast, especially in the Sandhills counties of Scotland, Moore, Harnett and Hoke.

Duke Energy spokeswoman Meghan Miles says the numbers will keep changing as snow and ice accumulations cause new outages while others customers are restored.

The 26 electricity coops across the state are reporting about 2,000 outages. N.C. Electrical Membership Corp. spokeswoman Kristie Aldridge says the outages were mostly in the Sandhills region.

Dominion reported no outages in its region in northeast and coastal North Carolina. ElectriCities also reported no outages at its member municipal power providers.

2:50 p.m.

Duke Energy is reporting more than 14,000 customers without power in North Carolina as a winter storm rumbles through the state bringing snow, sleet and freezing rain.

The utility’s outage map listed Friday afternoon nearly 2,400 outages south of Interstate 40 and west of Interstate 26 in southwestern North Carolina, and almost 8,000 outages in the Lumberton area in the southeastern corner of the state.

Other areas reporting outages include the Asheville area, the Triad and south of the Research Triangle area.

The utility says on its website that work crews are assessing the damage to determine when power in the affected areas will be restored.

1:30 p.m.

The latest briefing from the National Weather Service says portions of North Carolina impacted by the winter storm may see more ice than snow.

Meteorologist Nick Petro of the NWS office in Raleigh said Friday that locations north of Interstate 85 and closer to the Virginia border could still see some pockets of snow, with perhaps another inch or two of snow accumulation.

However, Petro said most of central North Carolina will see mostly sleet and/or freezing rain. He also said locations along and east of Interstate 95 south of Smithfield are likely to warm above freezing and change to rain later Friday afternoon and evening.

Petro said a quick changeover from snow to sleet and freezing rain had been a possibility.

12:25 p.m.

Gov. Pat McCrory has provided details on the two most recent deaths attributed to the snow and ice storm in North Carolina.

In a news release Friday, McCrory said the most recent death occurred Friday, when a driver lost control of a truck on Interstate 95 in Johnston County and crossed both southbound lanes. He says a Wilkes County man who was injured in a wreck Wednesday evening also has died. Also Wednesday, a Forsyth County woman and a Stokes County woman died in separate wrecks.

12 p.m.

Residents of the western North Carolina mountains are bracing for snowfalls that forecasts say could top more than a foot of accumulation.

Laura Brown of Sylva and her family were huddling at home Friday morning as freezing rain fell on top of four to six inches of snow that fell overnight. She says she expects to stay home through Sunday after the storm is over.

One concern facing North Carolina households is that ice could collect on and weigh down electrical lines until they snapped, cutting off power. Brown said her home lost power Friday morning, but it was restored in about an hour.

11:50 a.m.

Gov. Pat McCrory says the death toll from the winter storm in North Carolina now stands at four as road conditions worsen and power outages increase.

McCrory provided few details about the deaths at a news conference Friday. He said one person injured in an accident Wednesday evening has died, and another motorist died Friday in an accident involving several trucks and a car on Interstate 95 in Johnston County. Two other people also died in wrecks Wednesday.

Highway Patrol Commander Col. William Grey says troopers have responded to 571 wrecks and more than 800 calls for service since midnight Friday.

Officials say lanes of Interstate 95 and 40 were closed Friday. Secondary and rural roads are treacherous while Transportation Department crews concentrate first on major routes.

McCrory says about 6,000 customers are without power across the state with those concentrated in the mountains and the Charlotte region.


Eds: This item has been corrected to show the correct the spelling of Highway Patrol commander’s name to Grey.

11 a.m.

North Carolina officials are urging people to stay home as roads are coated with ice, but a visit to the local grocery store is still a must for some.

A Food Lion grocery in west Raleigh drew a constant stream of shoppers Friday morning despite the steady patter of freezing rain.

Lisa Chapman fell to the parking lot pavement as soon as she stepped out of the car. The textile professor at nearby North Carolina State University was unhurt. She said driving the half-mile from home was necessary despite the conditions because she and her husband were running low.

Matthew Sanders says he decided to stay close to home because the drive to his auto-repair shop 30 miles away in Smithfield would only be more dangerous later in the day if he started turning wrenches.


8:45 a.m.

State Transportation Department officials say all roads in North Carolina are open although lanes of some major highways in the western part of the state are closed because of the winter storm.

DOT officials said in a news release Friday that lanes are closed on Interstate 26 at mile marker 53 in Hendersonville; on I-26 East at mile marker 33 in Asheville; and on I-40 East at mile marker 64 in Black Mountain.

As of Friday morning, officials say crews have placed nearly 2 million gallons of a salt-water mixture called brine on major highways and roads. That work began Tuesday and continued through Thursday.

DOT equipment is even in place on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, where the storm could become a nor’easter.

Although roads are clear, DOT advises people to stay home.


7:55 a.m.

The winter storm bearing down on the East Coast means that travelers trying to get out of North Carolina’s two major airports are likely stuck until at least Saturday and maybe longer.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport tweeted Friday that 12 Delta and United flights were scheduled for early in the day, with a few more Delta flights scheduled for later. Airport officials said in a news release Thursday that JetBlue and Southwest had canceled all flights for Friday and Saturday and expected to resume operations Sunday.

After its flights early Friday, the airport said American expected to resume flying Saturday.

In a news release Friday, Charlotte-Douglas International Airport said all operations are canceled for American Airlines, Regionals, Delta, United, Southwest, Lufthansa, Air Canada, ViaAir and JetBlue.

A winter storm warning is in effect until 6 p.m. Saturday for central North Carolina along and west of Interstate 95. A winter weather advisory is posted for areas east of I-95.


6:50 a.m.

The major utility serving North Carolina reported nearly 2,300 customers were without electricity early Friday. Duke Energy said the biggest problem is in Gaston County, where more than 1,900 customers are without service.

Snow was falling from Boone and Asheville to Greensboro and Raleigh early Friday.

A winter storm warning was in effect until 7 a.m. Sunday for the mountains of western North Carolina. Up to 2 feet of snow was possible at higher elevations.

Up to 18 inches of snow was possible around Lenoir, Marion and Forest City by Saturday night.

Up to 12 inches of snow was possible around Salisbury, Shelby and Gastonia.


4 a.m.

The forward edge of a major winter storm poised was poised to enter North Carolina, with the National Weather Service saying areas forecast to get deep snow and ice should prepare for downed trees and power lines, prolonged power outages and impassable roads for an extended period.

A winter storm warning went into effect early Friday and will remain in effect until 6 p.m. Saturday for central North Carolina along and west of Interstate 95. A winter weather advisory is posted for areas east of I-95.

Forecasters also say wind gusts up to 30 mph are possible through Friday night, increasing the likelihood of falling trees and branches.

UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State, Duke and Wake Forest universities canceled Friday classes because of the storm.

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