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The Daily Tar Heel

Winter Storm Inga hits Chapel Hill, Cooper declares NC in state of emergency

Chapel Hill received up to 10 inches of snow on Jan. 17, leading to two and a half days of cancelled classes for UNC students.

Chapel Hill received up to 10 inches of snow on Jan. 17, leading to two and a half days of cancelled classes for UNC students.

North Carolina received record snowfall in multiple areas on Wednesday. Snowfall began early Wednesday morning and lasted into the evening in some parts of the Triangle. The University is operating on suspended operations until noon on Friday. 

Some parts of Orange County recorded between 10 and 12 inches of snow, while some southern and eastern counties counted less than an inch. Temperatures in the Triangle rose between 30 and 40 degrees Thursday afternoon, but hazardous road conditions remained as temperatures dropped below freezing again Thursday night. 

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for Orange County and most of central North Carolina until noon on Friday.  

School districts across North Carolina canceled school for students and staff through the end of the week, including Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. 

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper urged drivers to stay off the road on Thursday.

“The snow was beautiful today, but it will be treacherous tonight,” Cooper said according to the News & Observer.

Cooper said the North Carolina State Highway Patrol had responded to over 2200 calls statewide as of Wednesday night due to hazardous road conditions, according to the News & Observer.

“Motorists who venture out not only place themselves at risk, but also, our first responders,” Colonel Glenn McNeill said, according to WRAL News.

Grace Rountree, a media spokesperson for Duke Energy, said that the power outages across North Carolina were largely caused by snow-covered trees falling onto power lines. Hazardous road conditions delayed response crews to many areas affected by outages, she said.

“Our crews are out and about in our service area, working as safely and quickly as possible to restore power," Rountree said. "Road conditions and slick roads has made it a bit difficult to get around, so we’re working through that." 

Some businesses on Franklin Street remained opened on Wednesday, but most restricted their delivery operations due to hazardous road conditions. Toppers Pizza manager Wayne Byers said that the store’s location allowed them to maintain regular hours for carry-out services and still receive significant customers despite the snow.

“That’s certainly one of the advantages of our location, to be able to get that foot traffic,” Byers said. 

On campus, UNC students could be found enjoying their break from classes building giant snowmen in the quad or creatively sledding down Skipper Bowles Drive. First-year Neil Rowen said that students could be found on cardboard, inflatables and even laundry baskets. 

“There was a traffic barrier that a lot of people were sliding down, and that thing would book it all the way down the hill,” Rowen said. 

Instead of using his time off to catch up on assignments, Rowen said he spent his snow days outside in the snow with both friends and strangers.

“I totally ignored any sense of work," he said. "It was a great break even though we’ve just had MLK day. It was nice to get away from everything and just enjoy being at UNC with all the students."


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