Wintry weather heads out, cool temperatures continue

03/18/2014 7:00 AM

03/18/2014 2:44 PM

Another cooler-than-average day is expected Wednesday across the Charlotte region, but forecasters said the weather will show big improvement for the rest of the week.

This is on the heels of the area’s latest encounter with winter weather which left a coating of ice on bridges and overpasses Tuesday morning and contributed to a number of collisions and delayed school openings.

The impact of the ice accumulations was nowhere near as severe as during an ice storm earlier this month that knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of North Carolina customers. This time, Duke Energy reported only a few thousand outages Tuesday morning.

But it was a reminder that winter has not let go of the Carolinas.

Forecasters said they expect Wednesday to start with more fog and drizzle, and temperatures are predicted to be in the mid 30s. Only slow recovery is forecast during the day, although meteorologists said the skies could brighten later in the afternoon and temperatures soar to the mid and upper 50s. The average high temperature at this time of year in Charlotte is 64 degrees.

That will set the stage for several days of nice weather. National Weather Service meteorologists said they expect plenty of sunshine Thursday through Saturday, with highs somewhere near 70 degrees. Slightly cooler weather is predicted for Sunday.

A cold rain that fell Monday evening and early Tuesday turned to patches of ice before daybreak Tuesday. The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for ice on the roads, but some motorists had a tough time dealing with slippery conditions. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police responded to several dozen wrecks Tuesday morning, and authorities elsewhere in North Carolina had similar problems.

Authorities closed the McKee Road bridge over I-485 about 7:30 a.m. after it iced over. And a bridge on Albemarle Road between Harrisburg Road and I-485 was closed because of ice. At least two wrecks were reported in the area between 6:30 and 8 a.m. Shortly after 6:30 a.m., police reported a vehicle slid off Brookshire Boulevard into a wooded area near Rozzells Ferry Road.

Late Monday night, the N.C. Highway Patrol closed the flyover ramps at I-77 and I-485 near Pineville due to ice. Those ramps are open Tuesday morning, however.

And during the night, a tractor-trailer carrying new cars skidded on an ice-covered I-77 bridge near mile marker 42 in southern Iredell County. The truck jacknifed and was hit by another truck. No serious injuries were reported, but the collisions closed the northbound lanes of I-77 for several hours.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and most private and charter schools in Mecklenburg County operated with normal schedules Tuesday, but many systems in counties to the north and northeast opened two or three hours late.

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