Gov. Cooper declares State of Emergency ahead of winter storm

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Credit: WJZY

With much of North Carolina forecast to feel the effects of a major winter storm, Governor Roy Cooper is encouraging the public to be ready, as the State Emergency Response Team makes its preparations.

“This storm comes at a time of year when North Carolinians are usually hearing carols about snow, not actually seeing it. But this time, the real thing is headed our way and North Carolina is getting prepared,” Governor Cooper said in a written statement, released on Friday. “A winter storm’s not a Christmas carol snow. It’s serious, and you need to take steps now to get your family ready.”

Related: Winter Storm: Mountains could see 12 to 18 inches of snow; Charlotte area expected 2 to 4

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for portions of the mountains from 7 p.m. Saturday to noon Monday. A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow, sleet, and ice will make travel very hazardous or impossible.

A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for much of western and central North Carolina starting Saturday evening or early Sunday morning through Monday night. A Winter Storm Watch means there is the potential for significant snow, sleet, and freezing rain that will likely impact travel.  

People in the North Carolina mountains and foothills can expect the most snow, more than a foot in some areas. The Triad area can expect as much as foot of snow and sleet. Charlotte can also expect significant snow and sleet. In the Triangle area, the current forecast shows 2 to 6 inches, with those higher amounts in the west toward Durham and less snow farther east toward Raleigh. Areas east and south of Raleigh may only see less than an inch of snow. Eastern North Carolina could face heavy rain, coastal flooding, gusty winds and beach erosion from the storm.

“My advice to keep your family safe through the storm: gather your emergency supplies, follow weather forecasts closely, and be prepared to stay put for a few days when the storm rolls in and the roads become slick,” Governor Cooper said Friday. 

Gov. Cooper has also activated the NC National Guard to help where needed.

Crews with the N.C. Department of Transportation are pre-treating roadways and readying equipment to clear roadways of snow and ice. To respond to the storm, NCDOT has at the ready about 3,000 staff, 2,400 trucks with snow plows, and more than 135,000 tons of salt.

To help ensure you are ready for the storm, Governor Cooper and North Carolina Emergency Management officials urge you to:

  • Keep enough non-perishable food in your home for 3 days.
  • Keep fresh batteries on hand for weather radios and flashlights.
  • Dress warmly. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
  • Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep any electric generators outside and away from open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Never burn charcoal or operate grills indoors.
  • Monitor changing forecasts and weather conditions closely.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first aid kit and road map.

North Carolinians are encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel during the storm and stay off the roadways to allow road crews and first responders to do their jobs. If you must travel during the storm, leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles and reduce your speed. If conditions worsen, pull off the highway and remain in your vehicle. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you can take shelter.

Governor Cooper also encourages North Carolinians to check on neighbors, especially the elderly and disabled, and include pets in their emergency plans. To keep animals safe during winter weather, emergency management officials recommend you:

  • Make an emergency supplies kit for your pet and include medical records, first aid kit, enough canned/dry food and water for 3 - 7 days and pet travel bag or carrier.
  • Bring pets inside when temperatures drop below freezing.
  • Ensure your pet has a well-fitting collar.
  • Move livestock and other animals to a sheltered location with food and water.