Severe weather impact roads in WNC
RALEIGH – Heavy rains that fell yesterday and overnight continue to impact many roads in western North Carolina today. Areas of the mountains are experiencing landslides, flooding, and downed trees and power lines. As conditions may continue to deteriorate in some areas, drivers are urged to use extreme caution and monitor NCDOT’s Twitter feed and website for real-time information.
The following routes have closures in place due to landslides:
· I-40 West at mile marker 68 between Old Fort and Black Mountain at the Buncombe/McDowell county line. A landslide occurred at approximately 1 a.m. The N.C. Department of Transportation reopened one lane of the interstate at 5:40 a.m. Currently, the left lane is open, while the two right lanes are closed. Those lanes are expected to reopen later this afternoon;
· N.C. 9 south of Black Mountain in Buncombe County. One lane of the road is currently open to traffic. NCDOT crews are surveying the area;
· Highway 90 North near Collettsville in Caldwell County. The road is closed one mile north of Abington Road. NCDOT crews are surveying the area;
· U.S. 74 in the Gerton community of Henderson County. The road is blocked completely, and crews expect to reopen a single lane in the next couple of hours, with the entire road expected to reopen by the end of the day;
· Middle Fork Road near the Gerton/Bat Cave communities of Henderson County. NCDOT crews are surveying the area; and
· Holder Branch Road in eastern Haywood County. Access to several homes is blocked. NCDOT crews are surveying the area.
To help keep you and your loved ones safe when driving in bad weather, always:
· Avoid driving through flooded areas, even if they seem shallow. Just one foot of water can float many vehicles, while two feet of rushing water can carry away SUVs and pick-ups;
· After driving through a puddle, tap your brake pedal to help dry your brake rotors;
· If your car starts to hydroplane, take your foot off the gas, apply the brakes in a steady, slightly firm manner without stomping and steer in the direction of the skid. If you have a manual transmission, push in the clutch and let the car slow down on its own;
· If the rain is extremely heavy, pull over in a safe area in a parking lot or on the roadside with your emergency flashers on, away from any trees or other tall objects, and wait for the weather to improve;
· Allow more travel time;
· Turn on your low beam headlights and use the defroster to increase visibility;
· If possible, stay in the middle lane where the road tends to be higher;
· Reduce your speed by at least five to 10 miles per hour and allow at least twice the normal following distance;
· Signal for turns ahead of time and brake early as you near a stop. Remember, roads are slickest in the first 10 to 15 minutes, especially if it has not rained for a while; and
· If a traffic signal is knocked out by a storm, regard the intersection as a four-way stop. If two or more vehicles arrive at the same time, the car to the right has the right of way and after signaling, may move in any direction. If two facing vehicles approach the intersection at the same time, any car traveling straight ahead or turning right has the right of way.
For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit http://www.ncdot.gov/travel or follow NCDOT on Twitter at www.ncdot.gov/travel/twitter. Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. To access it, type “m.ncdot.gov” into the browser of your smartphone. Then, bookmark it to save for future reference. NCDOT Mobile is compatible with the iPhone, Android and some newer Blackberry phones.