Hazardous travel in Charlotte as winter storm bears down on regi - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Hazardous travel in Charlotte as winter storm bears down on region

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Road conditions remain extremely dangerous and anyone who doesn't have to be out driving should avoid leaving where they are.

That warning came directly from NC Gov. Pat McCrory at a news conference Wednesday morning.

State and local transportation crews are working around the clock to try and keep the roads clear.

Officials with the Charlotte Department of Transportation said that the snow was falling faster than crews could keep the roads clear.

NCDOT was out into the night working to clear the interstates and state highways.

By mid-afternoon traffic in Charlotte was moving at a snail's pace. More than 140 accidents had been reported to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Interstate 77 southbound is impassable at milemarker two due to the snow, the state DOT reports.

In Union County, Highway 74 was at a crawl in the early afternoon hours with traffic stopped between Wingate and Monroe.

The state DOT released several tips for people who cannot avoid driving.

If you're not able to stay at home, here are a few safety tips for driving in winter weather:
 -- Clear windows and mirrors;
 -- Reduce speed and leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles;
 -- Approach bridges and overpasses with extreme caution and do not apply your brakes while on a bridge unless necessary;
 -- If you begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Do not apply the brakes as that will cause further loss of control of the car;
 -- Come to a complete stop or yield the right of way when approaching an intersection in case any vehicles coming from other directions lose control of their vehicles while trying to stop;
 -- Be on the lookout for fallen tree limbs and power lines from snow/ice accumulation. NCDOT crews work with local power companies to remove the fallen limbs and downed lines as quickly as possible;
 -- If you have a cellular phone, take it with you. You can contact the Highway Patrol statewide by calling *HP (*47) or call law enforcement by dialing 911. But please don't call 911 to check on road conditions. That line must be kept open for emergencies.

Officials at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport said Wednesday night that the airport was still open, but that the roadways around it were still hazardous.

They said that approximately 450 departures were canceled during the day, and that the airlines reduced operations in Charlotte by 50 percent.

Although aircraft are still arriving and departing, travelers could expect significant delays.

Airport staff, officials said, were distributing supplies like cots, blankets and pillows to passengers who would be in the terminal overnight, and some of the airport's restaurants would remain open through the night.

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