How Charlotte roads are faring as winter storm brings snow, ice and sleet to region

·2 min read
Motorists attempt to push a car out of the median along Independence Boulevard on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, as snow and sleet blanket the roadway. Subfreezing temperatures overnight threatened to create travel conditions from dangerous across the area. (Jeff Siner/jsiner@charlotteobserver.com)

Charlotte was largely spared dangerous levels of ice accumulation as a winter weather system moved through the area over the weekend, but officials were still advising people to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.

The potential for black ice will also linger through the beginning of the week.

Here’s what to know about road conditions, and how to keep up with them:

Charlotte road conditions

With ice and snow on the ground and temperatures dropping below freezing Sunday night, the North Carolina Department of Transportation continued to advise residents to stay off the road when possible Monday.

Across the state, crews were working to clear roads based on priority. Interstates and four-lane highways are tended to first, according to NCDOT, followed by U.S. and state routes and then secondary roads.

Portions of Interstates 77 and 85 were closed at times Sunday as emergency crews tended to accidents, NCDOT reported, and the state’s road conditions tracker advised most roads in Mecklenburg County were still “covered with snow or ice” as of Sunday.

To see the latest road conditions in Charlotte and around the state, visit drivenc.gov.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police advises you should call 911 if you see downed trees or power lines blocking roads but call 311 “to report icy road conditions, nonemergency downed trees, water main breaks, nonworking signal lights and any other nonemergency situation.”

How many traffic accidents have there been in Charlotte?

Mecklenburg EMS responded to 30 traffic accidents Sunday, the agency said around 10:30 p.m.

That’s actually a lower number than usual: on Sunday, Jan. 9, Mecklenburg EMS said it responded to about 50 accidents.

“Thankfully, folks are staying off the road,” the agency said on social media.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police reported 41 crashes since midnight involving 16 injuries.

What about black ice?

There will be a “strong potential” for black ice in the Charlotte area through Monday, officials said Sunday.

Black ice can be particularly dangerous for drivers because it is basically invisible. It often forms when snow or ice melts but then refreezes, which is possible in Charlotte into the workweek as temperatures are forecast to climb slightly above freezing during the day but then fall overnight.

Charlotte traffic cameras

If you want to see the road conditions near you without leaving home, drivenc.gov offers traffic cameras from across North Carolina, including Charlotte.

Observer reporters Michael Gordon and Hannah Lang contributed to this story.