Ahead of an approaching winter storm expected to impact a large part of North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory signed two executive orders and gave an update on preparations for the storm during a press conference this afternoon. Governor McCrory said state agencies have been partnering with local emergency management officials, and storm preparations include transportation crews treating the roads with salt and brine, and state highway patrol troopers and N.C. National Guard soldiers are on standby.
“Given the forecast and as winter weather approaches, we are working with all necessary departments and local emergency management crews in order to keep our citizens safe and up to date regarding potentially hazardous weather conditions,” said Governor McCrory. “This morning, I signed two executive orders declaring a state of emergency for North Carolina and waiving certain requirements for vehicles assisting in relief efforts. We are prepared for likely power outages and dangerous driving conditions throughout our state. These executive orders and our capable statewide and local officials will ensure a rapid response to any adverse conditions.”
Governor McCrory was joined by Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry, Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata, Highway Patrol Commander Colonel Bill Grey, National Guard Adjutant General Gregory Lusk and other representatives from the Department of Public Safety and Raleigh Durham International Airport.
Prior to the press conference, the governor signed a State of Emergency and issued an executive order to waive weight and hours of service restrictions on truck drivers that may be responding to the winter storm.
Executed under the Emergency Management Act, the State of Emergency declaration enables the governor to mobilize the necessary resources to respond to a storm. It also is the first step in seeking federal funds to help defray the cost of providing emergency services, clearing debris and repairing any damaged public infrastructure.
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 debris in response to the winter storm. The waiver is in effect for 30 days.
“Our residents, as well as our livestock industry, need heat and electricity. These declarations are one way that the state can help to ensure that goods and services are restored as soon as possible,” said Governor McCrory.
A winter storm warning is in effect from the Triangle and Sandhills area to the coast. Counties along and east of Interstate 95 can expect two to eight inches of snow with eight to 14 inches of snow possible for portions of Northeastern North Carolina. Southeastern counties could see ice accumulations of up to one half inch. The Triad and foothills areas are under a winter weather advisory and could see between one to three inches of snow. Traveling conditions will be most difficult Tuesday evening and overnight, but black ice conditions could continue through Friday morning.
You can find updated weather and road conditions on the 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.”
Thirteen counties have already activated their local Emergency Operations Centers in preparation for the winter storm.
NCNG has prepositioned 35 guardsmen with Humvees to help local emergency managers respond to the winter storm.
“Due to approaching winter weather, motorists are urged to stay off the roads unless it is absolutely necessary to travel,” said Colonel Bill Grey. “Our troopers are ready to assist stranded motorists as needed, but the best way to remain safe is to stay off the roads.”
Travelers are urged to call 511 or go to www.ncdot.org for up to date roadway conditions. Motorists are reminded NOT to call 911 or the State Highway Patrol Communication Centers for roadway conditions.