North Carolina may have avoided a white Christmas but right on the heels of the holidays many residents in the state woke up to their first look at the white stuff of the season.
Some areas experienced as much as six inches of snow from the storm.
Gov. Roy Cooper, on Wednesday, declared a state of emergency for a portion of the state including Anson, Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chatham, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Gates, Granville, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Martin, Montgomery, Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Stanly, Tyrrell, Union, Vance, Wake, Warren, Washington, Wayne and Wilson counties.
The declaration, while it does impose a state of emergency for the designated area, does not inhibit possession of firearms or ammunition or the sale of alcoholic beverages in the state.
The snow began for most in the state Tuesday night coming from a blast of cold air moving in from an artic high-pressure system.
The system is causing temperatures across the state far below normal averages throughout the rest of the week.
In preparation of the storm Cooper said, “Snowfall amounts can be very hard to predict in North Carolina, as we saw in early December in western North Carolina. 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.”
In addition to the state of emergency, the National Weather Service 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.
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.
Cooper said that motorists in areas hit by the winter storm should expect treacherous driving conditions beginning overnight Wednesday and heading into Thursday morning.
North Carolina Department of Transportation maintenance crews were prepping roads around Raleigh as well east performing brining operation on major roadways, bridges, overpasses and other common trouble spots in anticipation of the winter weather.
Due to possible extremely cold temperatures in the teens and below, road clearing operations may take longer before crews can get out to plow 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.
“These extreme cold temperatures can be life-threatening if people lose power and heat,” NC Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said. “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 DriveNC.gov for roadway conditions.