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McCrory Declares State of Emergency Ahead of Snow Storm, Says He Approved Tata's Absence

Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency as North Carolinians batten down for the third snowstorm to hit the region in little more than a week.

McCrory issued the declaration Wednesday as officials prepared for a winter blast expected to deliver nearly a foot of additional snow to sections of the state overnight. Many parts of North Carolina received 1 to 3 inches of snow on Tuesday, though much of that melted Wednesday during a period of sunshine and above-freezing temperatures.

McCrory waived vehicle weight and service hour requirements to help expedite storm response. He also implemented a policy that allows state employees considered non-essential to the storm response to remain home.

McCrory says he gave advance approval for his transportation secretary to travel out-of-state for a book tour ahead of the week's earlier serious snow storm.

Transportation Secretary Tony Tata was back in North Carolina on Wednesday following criticism of his absence as his agency scrambled to respond the prior morning. Tuesday's snow began to fall hours earlier than what forecasters had predicted and DOT crews had not yet treated many interstates and highways with salt. Two people died in separate accidents when their vehicles slid off slick roadways and struck trees.

Tata flew out Monday evening to Chicago to attend an event to promote his latest thriller novel. McCrory said Tata had scheduled the day off and was still available by phone to help coordinate the response effort.

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