Raleigh, N.C. - Governor Pat McCrory has declared November 30 through December 6 as Winter Weather Preparedness Week in North Carolina. He urged all residents to update their emergency plans and stock their emergency supplies kits.
“The four back-to-back winter storms we experienced earlier this year are good reminders that North Carolina winters can pack a punch,” said Governor McCrory. “Whether it is sleet, snow, ice or freezing rain, be sure your family is ready. Use the ReadyNC mobile app to find out what supplies your family needs, what the traffic conditions are and where to go if you need shelter. Planning ahead will help keep your family safe during winter storms.”
Anywhere from six to 12 winter weather events, defined by the occurrence of measurable snow, sleet, freezing rain or cold rain, occur across the Piedmont of North Carolina each year, while coastal regions of the state typically experience less than four events annually. North Carolina’s proximity to the Appalachian Mountains, Atlantic Ocean, Gulf Stream and Gulf of Mexico means it can experience a variety of winter weather patterns that provide a mixed bag of precipitation.
“Even with the best forecasts, North Carolina winters are often unpredictable,” said Mike Sprayberry, N.C. Emergency Management director. “Last winter we saw a lot of snow and ice. The winter before, it was rain. Three years ago, there were tornadoes, which is almost unheard of during winter. It’s important to be ready for anything.”
Nick Petro, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh, said this year’s winter outlook features a slightly higher chance of above average amount of precipitation. He adds that the chances of above-, near- or below-average temperatures remain even. "The events that make winter memorable, such as big snow or ice storms, depend on conditions in the atmosphere which are just not predictable beyond a week or two. That is why residents need to be prepared in advance for any type and amount of winter weather," Petro explained.
It is important that all citizens monitor changing weather conditions by listening carefully to their National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio, local radio and television stations for storm watches or warnings. When winter weather warnings are issued, the public should be prepared for possible power outages or roads made impassable by snow or ice.
Sprayberry urged residents to practice the following winter safety tips:
- Keep alternative heating sources prepared. If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them.
- Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep any electric generators OUTSIDE and away from any open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, do not burn charcoal indoors. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result from charcoal fumes indoors.
- Keep fresh batteries on hand to use with flashlights and weather radios.
- Always keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food in your home.
- Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing to stay warm. You will be warmer and, as the temperature changes, you can easily remove layers to remain comfortable.
- If you must travel during a winter storm, store an emergency kit in your vehicle that includes: blankets, a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, a first aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, battery booster cables and flares, a tire repair kit and pump, a road map, a sack of cat litter (for tire traction), a tow rope, bottled water and non-perishable high-energy foods such as granola bars, extra clothing to keep dry, and a windshield scraper and brush.
- If driving on snow- or ice-covered roadways, reduce your speed. Driving at the regular speed limit will reduce your ability to control the car if you begin to slide. Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles.
- If conditions worsen and you can no longer drive safely, pull off the highway. Stay calm and remain in your vehicle. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter.
Sprayberry warned that most deaths attributed to winter storms result from indirect dangers such as traffic accidents, falling trees, downed power lines, house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from improper use of space heaters, grills and stoves.
The Department of Public Safety and the National Weather Service work together to give the public the most up-to-date and accurate weather and safety information to help citizens take the proper measures to protect themselves, their neighbors and loved ones from the effects of dangerous winter storms.
For more information on how to prepare for winter storms, download the free ReadyNC app from the AppStore or GooglePlay or visit www.readync.org.
Click here for a copy of the governor's proclamation.