Gov. Bev Perdue today issued Executive Order No. 78 to declare a State of Emergency for the entire state due to the winter storm. Executed under the Emergency Management Act, the declaration enables the governor to mobilize the necessary resources to respond to a storm.
Perdue said state and county emergency management officials have been in close contact with each other over the weekend preparing for this storm. Transportation crews have been treating the roads with salt and brine, and State Highway Patrol troopers and N.C. National Guard soldiers are on standby.
This is the third time this winter, the State Emergency Response Team is responding to a snow and ice storm that will impact much of North Carolina.
“Once again, we have a winter storm that will impact almost the entire state with some type of frozen precipitation,” Perdue said. “We know travel will be hazardous this afternoon and into Tuesday, so we’re urging everyone be safe. Don’t take any unnecessary risks if you don’t have to and exercise caution if you must travel.”
Winter storm warnings are in effect until Tuesday afternoon for the western two-thirds of North Carolina. New snow accumulation of 8-14 inches overnight and this morning has been reported in the state’s central and southern mountains. Snow will continue today before turning into sleet and freezing rain overnight. In central North Carolina, snow accumulations of between one to seven inches are expected. Precipitation will change to sleet and freezing rain after sunset. Ice accumulations of 1/10 inch are expected across much of the state with the heaviest accumulation of up to ¼ inch of ice possible in and around Richmond and Scotland counties and the surrounding area.
Between midnight and noon, state troopers have responded to more than 1,100 calls for service statewide, many of them wrecks. Many primary and secondary roads across the state are already covered with snow and ice.
For updated road conditions, motorists should call 511 or visit http://tims.ncdot.gov/tims/. Travelers are asked NOT to call 911 or the State Highway Patrol.
If you absolutely must travel, the North Carolina Highway Patrol recommends the following precautions:
· 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.
· Bridges and overpasses accumulate ice first. Approach them with extreme caution and do not apply your brakes while on the bridge.
· If you do begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel IN THE DIRECTION OF THE SLIDE. Do NOT apply the brakes as that will cause further loss of control of the car.
“The combination of more snow, freezing rain and ice could bring trees down and cause significant power outages,” said state Emergency Management Director Doug Hoell. “The utility companies are being very responsive, but folks should be prepared with alternate heating source in case they lose power.”
The N.C. Division of Emergency Management recommends the following 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.
· Do not use charcoal grills or generators indoors.
· Turn off electrical appliances that were on when the power went off to avoid a power surge when the electricity is restored.
* Use flashlights. Do not use candles; they greatly increase the chance of having a fire in your home.
* Limit your activities to no more than two rooms and close off unneeded rooms.
* Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors and cover windows at night to keep cold air out and warm air in.
* If you have well water, fill up tubs and buckets with water so if the power goes out you still have water.