(WGHP) — Governor Roy Cooper provided an update on Saturday ahead of the winter storm that will sweep through North Carolina over the weekend.
The snow, sleet and freezing rain expected across parts of the state will lead to travel disruptions and power outages. Several inches of snow are expected in the mountains, while sleet, freezing rain, ice and some snow are expected in central North Carolina. The eastern part of the state will see mostly freezing rain and rain, with the possibility of some flash flooding.
Cooper said a state of emergency has been activated and shelters and warming centers are ready to open as necessary where there may be longer power outages.
“Regardless of where you live, pay close attention to your local weather forecast to get prepared and to know whether it’s too dangerous to go out,” Cooper said. “Today, make sure you have groceries, medications and other essentials like water, batteries and pet food that you’ll need for the next few days. Staying at home and off the roads on Sunday and Monday if you can will be the best way to stay safe and to help road and utility crews do their work.”
Duke Energy is sending out 10,000 workers to deal with power outages, and about 200 National Guard soldiers will be in Western and Central NC.
An estimated 750,000 customers could lose power in North Carolina and South Carolina, according to a Duke Energy statement released on Saturday.
Power outages in some of the hardest-hit areas could last several days.
“If you rely on electricity for medical needs, you need to be figuring out what your alternate plan is now because if you need to relocate and the roads are icy that becomes a challenge,” said Jeff Brooks, spokesperson for Duke Energy.
Transportation officials urge people to stay off the roads.
Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette said that over 1,200 NC Department of Transportation employees and contractors have been pre-treating the roads since Thursday. Nearly two-and-a-half-million gallons of brine have been spread by crews.
Crews have more than 160,000 tons of salt on hand. Over 400 trucks are staged and ready to go.
Response times are expected to be slower than usual due to labor shortages impacting crews around the state.
To prepare for winter weather, North Carolina Emergency Management officials recommend these tips:
- Always keep at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food and a supply of medication in your home.
- Keep cell phones and mobile devices charged in case of power outages.
- 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 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.
- Use a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio or a weather alert app on your phone to receive emergency weather alerts.
- Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first-aid kit and road map.
- Make an emergency supplies kit for your pet and include medical records, leash and feeding supplies, enough food and for several days and pet travel carrier.
- Do not leave pets outside for long periods of time during freezing weather.