Freezing rain, sleet and snow blew into coastal areas stretching from South Carolina to Virginia on Friday in a winter storm that forecasters say could snarl a region that’s unaccustomed to winter precipitation.
Authorities along the North and South Carolina coast warned that ice accumulations could cause major power outages, while areas to the northeast, stretching into Virginia, could see several inches (centimeters) of snow.
In North Carolina, a Delta Air Lines plane with 19 passengers on board skidded off the runway and rolled into mud while taxiing at snowy Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Friday night, according to airport officials. No injuries were reported aboard the flight from Washington, D.C.
Most of the precipitation is expected to pass by sunrise Saturday. But forecasters said temperatures likely won’t rise above the 30s in North Carolina and Virginia during the day and will drop into the 20s and even teens in some places on Saturday night.
The snow will “probably be sticking around for a little bit,” said Alec Butner, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield, Virginia. “We finally get into the 40s on Sunday. We might have some melting by that point.”
Transportation officials in the southeast corner of Virginia said Friday morning that crews had been working overnight to treat the roads, but warned people to stay off of them.
“Road temps are below freezing on all roads in the area, which means high potential for slick spots, black ice and slushy conditions. Stay home where it’s safe and warm, unless travel is unavoidable,” the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Hampton Roads District said in a tweet.
In the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, area, a fire chief warned that even walking out the front door could be treacherous.
“One of our biggest concerns are slips, trips and falls. We’re not used to the ice around here as much. Be very careful just stepping out of your own home,” Horry County Fire Chief Joey Tanner said.
Near Raleigh, an ambulance transporting a patient slid off an icy road early Friday, injuring two workers aboard, according to the state Highway Patrol. The patient died after the crash, but the cause of death hasn’t been confirmed. The governor’s office said numerous crashes were reported Friday morning after the storm’s first wave.
Forecasters predict 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) of snow in the northeastern corner of North Carolina and Virginia’s Hampton Roads region, which includes Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
Chris Stokes, 41, a construction worker who lives in Norfolk, stocked up at a Harris Teeter grocery store Friday morning, rounding out his provisions with bottled water, eggs, chicken, wine and other items.
“I already had a couple of things, but now they’re making it seem like it’s gonna be a lot worse,” Stokes said.
School was canceled for his kids. His construction jobs were on hold. Stokes’ plan was to put some chicken in the slow cooker and assemble some toys that his kids got for Christmas.
“I bought some salt, so I’ll sprinkle that outside the walkway and just kind of brace for it,” Stokes said.
“Luckily, I got a 4-wheel drive (pickup truck),” he added. “So, if anything happens I’m not stuck for real. I can probably make it to where I need to go. But I’m sure nothing will be open.”
In North Carolina, the heaviest amounts of ice will likely develop near New Bern, where two U.S. highways cross, said Ryan Ellis of the National Weather Service office in Newport/Morehead City.