Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — With the possibility of icy conditions in the western part of the state and below average temperatures expected as an arctic mass approaches, Gov. Roy Cooper signed a State of Emergency on Tuesday to activate the state’s emergency operations plan, waive transportation regulations to help the transport of fuel and critical supplies, help first responders and protect consumers from price gouging.
“We know that with the extremely low temperatures North Carolinians will need propane and other heating fuel to keep their families warm,” Cooper said. “While propane supplies are strong in the state, there is a limited supply of licensed commercial truck drivers, which is being further exacerbated by COVID and flu outbreaks. The State of Emergency will help ease some restrictions and allow heating fuel companies to keep up with demand.”
Cold temperatures are expected to move into the state on Friday and continue through the holiday weekend. Most areas will see overnight lows in the teens, with afternoon highs struggling to climb above freezing. Even colder temperatures are expected across the mountains. Due to the duration of cold temperatures, especially across western North Carolina, water in poorly insulated or open pipes may freeze.
In addition to the cold temperatures, it will be very windy statewide Friday through early Saturday. Strong wind gusts could result in some downed trees, power outages, and wind chill values in the single digits across the state and below zero across the mountains.
While not the main concern, there will be a chance of light wintry mix across the mountains Wednesday night before precipitation changes to rain Thursday morning. Precipitation could then end as a period of snow on Friday, resulting in light accumulations and patchy black ice across the mountains.
To keep safe during winter weather, North Carolina Emergency Management advises residents and visitors to follow these tips:
♦ Pay close attention to your local forecast and be prepared for what’s expected in your area.
♦ Keep cell phones, mobile devices and spare batteries charged.
♦ Use a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio or a weather alert app on your phone to receive emergency weather alerts.
♦ Dress warmly. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
♦ Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first-aid kit and road map.
♦ Gather emergency supplies for your pet including leash and feeding supplies, enough food for several days and a pet travel carrier.
♦ Do not leave pets outside for long periods of time during freezing weather.
♦ Look out for your friends, neighbors and the elderly during winter weather.
If your power goes out:
♦ Ensure generators are operated outside and away from open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
♦ Never burn charcoal indoors or use a gas grill indoors.
♦ Properly vent kerosene heaters.
♦ Use battery-powered sources for light, instead of candles, to reduce the risk of fire.