NORTH CAROLINA — As the state begins preparations for the first winter storm of 2018, officials are urging residents to take necessary precautions of their own.
Governor Cooper announced state preparations Tuesday as many eastern North Carolina counties brace for a winter storm. Bitter cold temperatures and the possibility of snowfall are part of the system expected to move across the area.
“Snowfall amounts can be very hard to predict in North Carolina, as we saw in early December in western North Carolina,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “A small change in a storm’s track can make a big difference in how much snow falls and where. That’s why we’re making sure North Carolina is prepared for whatever this storm could bring, and why I encourage families and businesses to get ready.”
The National Weather Service (NWS) has already issued a winter storm advisory, watch, or warning for many of the counties east of I-95 in NC, excluding the Outer Banks, that are set to begin Wednesday morning and last into Thursday.
Officials say the extremely cold temps will make roadways and travel more treacherous and difficult during the overnight and early morning hours as crews will be limited on when brine and salt can be applied.
Salt-water brine solutions can only be applied at temperatures above 20 degrees because it may freeze onto the roadways once it dips into the teens, according to officials, and the extreme cold will also limit the salts ability to melt snow and ice. In most cases, crews will have to wait until temperatures rising during the day to clear the ice.
Officials are urging residents to take their own precautions as well as the winter storm approaches.
“These extreme cold temperatures can be life-threatening if people lose power and heat,” said NC Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “Many counties are ready with plans for warming centers, should they be needed. People should make sure they are ready for the cold, and should stay off the roads while conditions are dangerous.”
Below are some tips to help keep you safe and warm:
- Dress warmly for the cold. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
- Always keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food in your home.
- Keep alternative heating sources and fire extinguishers on hand.
- Be sure your family knows how to use them.
- Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep electric generators outside and away from open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not burn charcoal or use a grill indoors.
- Use a NOAA Weather Radio or monitor local news media for changing weather conditions. Keep fresh batteries on hand for weather radios and flashlights.
- If your pipes are uninsulated, keep faucets open to a slow drip to prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep pets inside, out of the cold. Download the ReadyNC app for more winter weather preparedness information.
- Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include a windshield scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first aid kit and road map.
- Keep your cell phone charged.
- Monitor fuel levels.
- Clear your windshield and other windows of snow and ice before traveling.
- Use headlamps and windshield wipers.
- Plan for delays and longer than usual travel times.
- Increase your following distance.
- Decrease your speed.
- Choose several routes as some roadways may be closed.
- Share your travel plans/routes with others.
- Always be aware of your location in case you become stranded.
- If your vehicle becomes disabled, stay inside the vehicle until assistance arrives.
- Contact 911 or *HP in emergency situations only. Visit DriveNC.gov for roadway conditions.