Governor Roy Cooper has declared Dec. 3 – 9, 2017 as Winter Weather Preparedness Week and is urging North Carolinians to plan, prepare and be ready for potentially dangerous winter weather in the months ahead.
“North Carolina has seen its share of snow and ice storms in recent years and we need to be ready for the next one,” Governor Cooper said. “As winter begins, make sure you review your emergency plans, update your emergency supply kit and stay informed about weather forecasts.”
North Carolina’s proximity to the Appalachian Mountains, Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Stream can make winter weather patterns difficult to predict. Each year there are approximately six to 12 winter storms in the Piedmont, 10 or more winter storms in the mountains and usually fewer than four winter storms that impact the coastal counties.
“Many families are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew and other disasters,” explained state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “Emergency managers are working daily with impacted communities to help them recover from these storms. But it is critical that we also prepare for any winter storm that can bring different hazards.”
Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center are expecting a mild La Nina to influence winter conditions this year. Unlike El Nino, characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific, La Nina involves a cooling of the ocean that favors warmer and drier winters in the south. But even with warmer and drier winter weather, winter storms will still occur.
It is important to monitor changing weather conditions by monitoring local media carefully. When winter weather warnings are issued, be prepared for possible power outages or dangerous driving conditions. Remember: Winter Storm Watch means severe winter conditions are expected within 24-48 hours, while a Winter Storm Warning indicates that dangerous accumulations of snow and/or ice are likely within 24 hours. Advisories indicate that winter weather conditions are expected to cause delays and problems within 24 hours.
To get ready for winter weather, North Carolina Emergency Management officials urge you to:
- Always keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food in your home.
- Keep fresh batteries on hand for weather radios and flashlights.
- Dress warmly for the cold. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
- 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 indoors.
- Use a NOAA Weather Radio to monitor for changing weather conditions.
- Keep alternative heating sources and fire extinguishers on hand. Be sure your family knows how to use them.
- Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first aid kit and road map.
If you must travel, emergency officials remind motorists to drive safely. Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles and if driving on snow or ice-covered roadways, reduce speed. If conditions worsen, be sure to pull off the highway and remain in your vehicle. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you can take shelter.
The Department of Public Safety and the National Weather Service work together to help North Carolinians plan and prepare for winter weather by providing accurate weather and safety information.
For more information on how to prepare for winter storms, download the free ReadyNC app, which provides real-time information on traffic and weather conditions plus open shelters and items needed in an emergency supplies kit, or visit readync.org.