Temperatures overnight did not fall as predicted, but that was because of cloud cover that is bringing a blast of snow to the High Country, and has caused schools to change schedules. Click on Closings and Cancellations for the latest. Snow is sandwiching the state with accumulation in the far west and expected in the eastern parts of the state with a coastal low bringing moisture that is colliding with the cold air that came across the mountains late yesterday, bringing snow and freezing rain to areas especially east of I-95. The snow sandwich is causing Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry to say, “With the potential for significant amounts of snow or freezing rain expected, we must be prepared for power outages and icy conditions,” and that  “We are urging everyone to be ready, watch the local weather forecasts and stay safe.”  His release said that weather forecasters have issued a winter storm warning for eastern North Carolina, with counties along and east of Interstate 95 expecting three to eight inches of snow which could be mixed with sleet and freezing rain along the coast. Snowfall should begin this morning with the heaviest snow expected late today. Coastal areas also can expect strong winds throughout Tuesday until early Wednesday. The release said much of central North Carolina is under a winter storm watch and could see between two to five inches of snow. The greatest chances of snow are east of I-95 and south of U.S. 64. The Public Safety release came with a number of safetly suggestions, including:
·         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; the fumes can be deadly.
·           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.
·         Remember to eat and drink regularly. Food provides the body with energy to produce its own heat.
·         Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration.
·         Wear layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing.  Layering clothes keeps you warmer than a single layer of heavy clothing.  Remove layers to avoid overheating, perspiration and subsequent chill.

“This winter storm system is likely to make traveling difficult for portions of North Carolina during the next few days. Don’t take any unnecessary risks and use extra caution if you are driving,” said Colonel Bill Grey, commander of the Highway Patrol.

If you must travel, the North Carolina Highway Patrol recommends following these safety tips:
·         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.

Travelers are asked NOT to call 911 or the State Highway Patrol for road conditions. The lines must remain clear for emergency calls.

You can find updated weather and road conditions on www.readync.org web site or with the new ReadyNC mobile app. The free app is available for iPhones and Android devices in the AppStore and Play Store; search “ReadyNC.”  Perry said the forecasted amounts of snow combined with below-freezing temperatures, means that the storm’s affects likely will be felt through Thursday.  The good news is the weekend forecast calls for temperatures in the 50s to 60s.