Charlotte breaks snowfall record; drivers urged to stay off untreated roads Saturday

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Jeff Siner/

Charlotte broke a 39-year-old record when 1.9 inches of snow fell during Friday night’s storm, the National Weather Service reported Saturday.

The previous record for a Jan. 21 snowfall was set in 1983, when 0.5 inches fell, according to the NWS.

Subfreezing temperatures left many roads icy, and traveling on them is not worth the risk of a wreck, officials said.

“After last night’s snowfall, untreated roads may be snow-packed or have slick spots,” according to a National Weather Service alert posted on Twitter at 4:45 a.m.

Clearing skies should help melt lingering snow by afternoon, the NWS office in Greer, S.C., said in a special weather statement an hour earlier.

“Until then, drivers should be alert for slippery roads and delay travel until later in the day if possible,” according to the statement.

On Saturday afternoon, however, the NC Department of Transportation reported that many roads in the state, including the Charlotte area, remained hazardous and that drivers should stay off them.

“People should not attempt to drive in these conditions,” N.C. Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette said in a news release. “Our crews are working around the clock to treat and clear roads as quickly as possible, and we need everyone else to do their part and stay off the roads.”

Charlotte was predicted to reach a high of only 38 degrees Saturday with an overnight low of 22, according to the NWS forecast at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Charlotte remained a frigid 19 degrees at 9 a.m., according to the NWS.

Flight cancellations

From midnight to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, 191 flights were canceled and 136 delayed at Charlotte’s airport, according to Flight, which tracks flights at airports.

That followed the cancellation of 136 flights on Friday.

In Cabarrus County, the runway at Concord-Padgett Regional Airport remained closed because of snow and ice, city officials said.

Fiery Charlotte wreck

Drivers appeared to listen to the warnings, as Medic reported responding to only nine wrecks from midnight to 7 a.m. in Mecklenburg County Saturday.

Christine Edwards of Charlotte posted video on Twitter of a fiery wreck on Morehead Street that awakened her at 3 a.m.

“No one was in the car,” Edwards posted. “But then it started rolling down the street !!! right before the Fire dept arrived.”

Another wreck involved a pickup truck blocking a lane of Park Road after hitting a telephone pole, according to photos by an Observer photographer at the scene.


News outlets reported well over 100 wrecks during the storm Friday night.

Citing Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department crash and roadway obstruction logs, WBTV reported the number at 133 in the county.

Snowfall totals

2.5 inches fell on the east side of the Catawba River in Charlotte.

1.5 inches in Davidson and Mooresville.

1.8 inches two miles south of Matthews.

1.75 inches three miles west of Mount Holly.

Storm-related delays, closures

Among Saturday closures and delays in Charlotte due to Friday’s storm:

Charlotte-based StarMed Healthcare closed all of its Charlotte outdoor testing sites except for the west Charlotte location at 4001 Tuckaseegee Road, which opened at 11 a.m. StarMed previously said four locations would remain open.

All Mecklenburg County solid waste centers closed.

All Mecklenburg Park and Recreation facilities, including recreation and aquatic centers, delayed opening until 10 a.m.

Charlotte forecast

Highs in Charlotte are expected to climb to 47 Sunday and Monday, 48 Tuesday and then back down a bit to 44 Wednesday, according to the NWS forecast at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Skies should stay sunny through Friday, although Tuesday has a 40% chance of showers, the forecast shows.