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State Prepares for First Winter Storm of 2018 Bitterly cold temperatures expected to continue statewide this week


State officials are preparing for North Carolina’s first winter storm of 2018 and people in areas that could see snow are encouraged to do the same, Governor Roy Cooper said Tuesday.

A winter storm watch begins Wednesday for many eastern North Carolina counties and snowfall is expected across the coastal plain on Wednesday afternoon and night. Bitter cold air from an artic high pressure system means temperatures statewide are expected to average well below normal for the rest of the week.

While the current forecast calls for varying snow amounts of up to five inches in parts of eastern North Carolina, the state is preparing should the forecast change.

“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 has issued a winter storm advisory, watch or warning for most counties east of Interstate 95 in North Carolina excluding the Outer Banks beginning Wednesday morning and running into Thursday. These may be upgraded or expanded by the Weather Service as the storm draws nearer. State emergency management officials encourage people to continue to monitor the forecast.

Emergency managers and meteorologists at North Carolina Emergency Management are tracking the storm closely and are prepared to assist counties with any storm-related needs.

Motorists in areas hit by the winter storm should expect treacherous driving conditions overnight Wednesday and into Thursday morning. North Carolina Department of Transportation maintenance crews in Raleigh and points east are brining major roadways, bridges, overpasses and other common trouble spots in anticipation of the winter weather.

The extremely cold temperatures mean any precipitation that falls could be more difficult to clear from the roads. Brine can only be applied when temperatures are above 20 degrees, as the salt-water brine solution can freeze onto the roadways and create icy conditions when temperatures are in the teens. Extreme cold in the evening and overnight also limits the ability of salt to melt snow and ice on roadways. Crews will need to wait for the rising temperature during the daytime to clear any ice.

“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.”

To be ready for winter weather, North Carolina Emergency Management officials urge you to:

  • 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.

The State Highway Patrol offers these tips for travel during winter weather:

  • 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 for roadway conditions.

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