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Black ice a threat Tuesday night and Wednesday in Charlotte area

Officials warn that icy streets are likely to be a problem for Wednesday’s morning commute. Sun and warmer temperatures melted some of the ice and snow, but a refreeze was expected on Tuesday night.
Officials warn that icy streets are likely to be a problem for Wednesday’s morning commute. Sun and warmer temperatures melted some of the ice and snow, but a refreeze was expected on Tuesday night. ogaines@charlotteobserver.com

Despite temperatures that were expected to warm several degrees above freezing on Tuesday, driving could remain hazardous Tuesday night and Wednesday morning in some parts of the Charlotte area, the National Weather Service and state highway officials warned.

As temperatures drop to about 24 degrees Tuesday night, roads could once again become coated in ice, especially shaded and secondary roads that won’t get as much melting during the day, according to the National Weather Service.

Tuesday was forecast to be above freezing for about eight hours, NWS meteorologist Doug Outlaw said. That should allow for some ice and sleet to melt, but it’s not enough for the roads to dry.

Although state road crews will again be out in 12-hour shifts, salt applied to roads becomes less effective with temperatures in the 20s, DOT spokeswoman Jordan-Ashley Walker said.

“Obviously, a concern is black ice, and the problem with black ice is you can’t anticipate it,” Walker said.

Any moisture on roads overnight Tuesday could form black ice, she said.

The state and 4,800 workers will pay particular attention to bridges and other trouble spots, and will continue to clear roads “until they’re clear,” she said.

This week’s winter storm is the first of the season for the Charlotte area, Outlaw said.

And the winter weather will stick around.

Wednesday has a 40 percent chance of rain and snow. Less than 1/2-inch accumulation of snow is anticipated, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures, meanwhile, will dive-bomb from an expected high of 37 on Wednesday to 8 degrees Wednesday night into Thursday morning, with a wind chill of minus 1, the National Weather Service reports.

Thursday will remain frigid, with an expected high of only 22 and a low Thursday night of 8 again.

While sunny, Friday is expected to see a high of only 28. By Friday night, a 30 percent chance of snow moves in.

So, from 8 p.m. Wednesday until 10 a.m. Saturday, temperatures won’t get above freezing, Outlaw said.

A 50 percent chance of rain and snow returns on Saturday, followed by just rain Sunday and Monday, according to the latest forecasts.

Temperatures will finally warm to the low 50s on Sunday, but then dip back to a high of only 43 on Monday.

Marusak: 704-358-5067;

Twitter: @jmarusak

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