The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning that remains in effect until 9 this evening.
Area residents have, so far, largely avoided many of the predicted disasters – such as extended power outages and downed trees.
But that doesn’t mean that people can expect to safely venture out on the roadways.
Charles Smith, Public Information Officer for New Hanover County, says while some major roadways may have seemed drivable today; Wednesday night will bring another hard freeze.
"Shortly after sundown, we will have a worse condition, and that's called black ice. The roadways you may have seen during the day that looked fine, other than being wet, that water going across the road is just going to quickly freeze and once it becomes black ice, it's really worse than the accumulation of snow and sleet that we've had today. Because the snow and sleet that turns to slush is providing some traction for vehicles, and once that re-freezes tonight, that's not going to be the case."
The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge and the Isabel Holmes Bridge never close. Those are the two spans across the Cape Fear River from New Hanover to Brunswick Counties. The notion that they might close is a rumor that Charles Smith, New Hanover County’s Public Information Officer, has worked hard to quell.
"DOT has been scraping most of our major bridges, but they're going to be some of the worst tonight when it re-freezes. They're going to freeze, frankly, before many of our major and secondary roadways."
That means that road and bridge conditions will be hazardous Thursday morning. There will be a brief reprieve in the afternoon Thursday when temperatures flirt for a few hours with the upper 30s, another hard freeze will come overnight, and we'll see more extremely treacherous travel conditions Friday morning.
Most area schools are closed again Thursday, January 30th. Below is a partial confirmed list:
New Hanover County Schools
Brunswick County Schools
Columbus County Schools
Bladen and Robeson County Schools
Pender County Schools
Friends School of Wilmington
Whiteville City Schools
Cape Fear Community College