Treacherous roadways are proving to be the serious hazards that officials predicted.
In Brunswick County, emergency responders are stretched thin because of a sharp increase in traffic accidents.
Brunswick County Commissioners declared a state of emergency earlier this week, but apparently advance warnings about icy roads didn’t take hold.
Sheriff John Ingram says the number of vehicle wrecks in the county has spiked.
“It’s been almost one right after another throughout the county. It’s everywhere. And it’s because of the ice. Most people are not used to driving on ice. Their vehicles are not equipped to operate on ice. Very few are. And you never know when you’re going to lose traction, when you’ll hit a spot, and it’s causing accidents whether it’s in curves, straightaways, intersections, parking lots. So please stay off the roads unless it is extremely urgent.”
But clearly “extremely urgent” means different things to different people.
Here’s how Ingram defines it:
“A life-threatening emergency where they feel the need to get assistance. Our resources are spread thin – Emergency Management, EMS -- all are spreading thin due to the call volume, number of accidents they’re responding to. And if there were some sort of life-threatening emergency and someone felt compelled to try to get on the roadways -- that would be the only reason I would ask that they would even consider it.”
By the same token, residents calling 911 for assistance should plan on a longer wait time. Not only are resources scarce, but the county's equipment isn't designed to handle these road conditions.
The dangerous layer of ice covering roadways won’t have an opportunity to melt until some time Friday.