Governor Roy Cooper today declared a State of Emergency for all 100 counties to help utility workers restore power quickly in parts of western and central North Carolina, following power outages caused by the snow, ice and freezing rain from this weekend’s winter storm.
A wintry mix of precipitation ranging from a few inches of snow or rain to .25 of freezing rain has fallen across western and central portions of North Carolina this weekend. At 4:00 p.m. Sunday approximately 98,000 customers were without power; the majority of those were in Forsyth, Henderson, Rockingham, Stokes, Guilford, Caswell, Yadkin, Wilkes, Transylvania, Buncombe and Surry counties. Utility crews have been mobilized to restore power as quickly as possible. Power outage updates by county are available at https://www.ncdps.gov/power-outages.
Gov. Cooper declared a State of Emergency to facilitate movement of any resources needed to respond to the storm and ordered that truck weight, size and hours of service restrictions be waived. This allows vehicles carrying essential supplies and equipment and utility trucks working to restore power to get where they are needed quickly.
“Though the worst of the storm is over, conditions are still hazardous in areas that saw snow and ice," Governor Cooper said. “If you are without power, please be careful if you are using alternative heat sources. Slow down if you're driving in areas where roads may be slick, and watch out for patchy black ice tomorrow morning, especially north and west of I-85."
Winter Storm Warnings issued by the National Weather Service remain in effect through this evening for much of the mountains and northwestern piedmont. Winter Weather Advisories remains in effect for portions of the southwestern mountains, Charlotte Metro area, and portions of central North Carolina until this evening.
Roads are hazardous to travel in many areas affected by this storm. People who do not need to travel are urged to stay off the roads in these areas to avoid dangerous conditions, such as falling trees.
Nearly 1,000 N.C. Department of Transportation workers are working to clear snow and ice in the western part of the state and the Triad, as well counties along the Virginia border and in the northern coastal area. More than 600 NCDOT trucks and graders are working on the roads, as well as over 400 contractor vehicles. More than 4,600 tons of salt and salt/sand mix and 188,000 gallons of salt brine have been used in the effort so far.
North Carolina Emergency Management officials are tracking the storm and its impacts closely and working with local Emergency Managers to help as needed. The State Highway Patrol is coordinating with local law enforcement and other emergency responders on plans to check and mark abandoned vehicles to ensure that no one gets left stranded in the cold.
If you are impacted by this storm, Governor Cooper and North Carolina Emergency Management officials urge you to:
• Monitor weather forecasts closely.
• Keep enough non-perishable food in your home for three 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.
• Bring pets indoors during the storm and cold weather.
• Be careful if you use an alternative heat source, and make sure you know how to use it safely. 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 indoors.
• Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first aid kit and road map.
For more information on how to prepare for winter storms, check the ReadyNC app or visit readync.org. For the latest road conditions, visit DriveNC.gov.