Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — North Carolina residents should be prepared for the strong possibility of power outages due to an incoming winter storm that is forecast to arrive early Thursday morning. This storm will bring significant icing that’s likely to result in many fallen trees and power lines.
“This forecast for icy weather is a real threat for widespread power outages,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “People need to be ready to stay home and be prepared to lose power for a while, especially in the northern, western and Piedmont counties.”
These areas could see between one-quarter and one-half inch of ice or more. Power outages are common with as little as a quarter-inch of icing on trees and power lines.
Gov. Cooper will issue an Executive Order in advance of the inclement weather, declaring a state of emergency and allowing for transportation waivers permitting utility companies to bring repair crews from out of state and get faster access to communities who have lost power. The governor also authorized the activation of 40 National Guard personnel to support fallen tree and debris removal.
State transportation officials advise that unnecessary travel should be avoided late Wednesday and Thursday across much of western and central North Carolina due to ice on roads and falling trees. Downed trees and power lines can be very difficult to see at night.
State transportation workers have started brining major highways, bridges and overpasses in some areas. As of 11 a.m., crews had placed nearly 30,000 gallons of brine on roads in the Triangle, Piedmont Triad, Charlotte area and mountains. Crews are loading trucks with salt and sand so deicing operations can start during the storm’s aftermath. Transportation crews will be working through the night to clear roads, as necessary.
N.C. Emergency Management is monitoring the storm’s progress and is prepared to assist counties with any storm-related needs. Emergency managers offer these tips for staying safe during this ice storm:
♦ Be prepared for power outages by making sure you have several days supply of food, medicine and water;
♦ Make sure your cell phone and other electronic or medical devices are fully charged, along with any backup batteries;
♦ Don’t park your car under trees or power lines;
♦ Use battery powered lights, instead of candles, if your power goes out;
♦ Avoid running generators or grills in your home or garage if your power goes out. Deadly carbon monoxide fumes can accumulate while using generators or grills indoors.
Visit ReadyNC.org for more information on preparing for winter weather. Follow @NC Emergency on Twitter and Facebook for the latest winter weather forecast and for preparedness information.