Governor Pat McCrory has issued a State of Emergency declaration ahead of a winter storm that will enter North Carolina this afternoon and is expected to hit the state with snow, sleet and freezing rain.
Governor McCrory said North Carolina’s State Emergency Response Team is preparing for the approaching winter storm and recommended that residents do the same.
“We are working with all necessary departments and local emergency management crews to keep residents safe and informed regarding potentially hazardous weather conditions,” said Governor McCrory. “We’re asking that each resident and family do the same by paying attention to the weather forecast and following instructions from local officials.”
This morning, Governor McCrory signed two executive orders (Executive Order 66 and Executive Order 67) to expedite storm response. The State of Emergency declaration enables the governor to mobilize the necessary resources to respond to a storm and is the first step in seeking federal funds to help defray eligible storm-related costs. The executive order waives restrictions on weight and the hours of service for fuel, utility and other truck drivers that may be working to deliver supplies, restore services or clear storm debris.
Governor McCrory also activated the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate storm response and directed the State Highway Patrol to coordinate with other law enforcement and emergency responders statewide to mark abandoned vehicles to ensure that no one is left stranded in the dangerous weather. Additionally, he reminded motorists of the state’s quick clearance policy, instructing state transportation crews to clear the road by pushing to the shoulder any vehicles that may impede traffic.
Weather forecasts call for snow to begin mid-afternoon across much of the state, starting in the western part of the state and moving east. Predicted snow accumulations vary from two to four inches in the Foothills, Triad and Virginia-border counties and one to two inches in the greater Charlotte and Triangle areas, as well as the northeastern counties. By 8 p.m. sleet and freezing rain will cover much of the state and will continue through until tomorrow morning.
With the low temperatures, the sleet and freezing rain will accumulate as ice making roads treacherous and coating trees and power lines. Accumulations of one-quarter inch or more on trees and power lines often leads to power outages.
The Highway Patrol is shifting resources to cover potential trouble spots. And troopers will be actively looking for abandoned vehicles and tagging cars to ensure motorist safety. Additionally, National Guard troops are on standby and prepared to respond as needed.
NCDOT has been working proactively in advance of winter weather, with nearly 1,300 workers and nearly 500 trucks distributing more than 1.3 million gallons of salt brine across the state’s roadways. Crews throughout North Carolina will be working throughout the afternoon and overnight proactively putting down salt and sand and clearing roads.
“Our dedicated crews have already been out in full force to prepare for this storm,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “We will be monitoring conditions and working around the clock to clear our roadways, and we urge everyone to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.”
Real-time weather and road conditions and shelter openings, as well as winter safety tips, can be found on the free ReadyNC mobile app or on line at www.readync.org web site.
Travelers are urged to call 511 or go to www.ncdot.gov for up-to-date roadway conditions. Motorists are reminded NOT to call 911 or the State Highway Patrol Communication Centers for roadway conditions.