Local News

Governor Urges Residents To Prepare For Winter

Posted December 3, 2004

— Gov. Mike Easley has declared Dec. 5-11 as Winter Weather Awareness Week in North Carolina and is reminding citizens and businesses to prepare now for snow and ice storms.

According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Winter Outlook, this winter will be colder than normal allowing for the possibility of snow and ice storms.

"Preparation is key to weathering winter storms successfully, whether you are at home or operate a business," Easley said. "Those who take the time now to review their emergency plans and stock up on food, water and other emergency supplies will be much better prepared. Businesses should update their winter weather policies and remember that it is best to keep employees off icy roadways."

Last winter, many locations across North Carolina experienced one of the snowiest winters on record.

Thousands of people who failed to heed the advice of law enforcement and traveled on treacherous roads found themselves in a ditch or in a collision with another vehicle. The state Highway Patrol answered more than 3,000 calls for assistance during a major ice storm that hit the state Jan. 25-26.

"Many people do not realize that if they spin off the road and get stuck, drivers can be ticketed for their actions," Highway Patrol Colonel W. Fletcher Clay said. "When any law enforcement agency says it is not safe to travel on the roadways, everyone needs to listen."

Motorists should have an emergency kit in their vehicle that includes a warm blanket, change of clothes, non-perishable food and water just in case a sudden storm strands them by the roadside.

At home, if a snow or ice storm is forecast, people should have enough food, water and medicine already on hand to last several days along with fuel for alternative heat sources such as fireplaces, wood stoves and space heaters. Citizens should use proper fuel, replace dead batteries in fire detectors and never use charcoal or gas grills indoors.

The

N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety

and the

National Weather Service

work together to encourage residents to get prepared for possible snow or ice storms during Winter Weather Awareness Week.

The two agencies provide information to the public about winter weather conditions and recommend preparations and they post safety tips on their Web sites.

Jeff Orrock of the National Weather Service said that, "Winter storms in North Carolina are highly variable bringing a variety of dangers from snow and ice. By preparing now, listening to forecasts and heeding winter storm watches and warnings you can easily keep you and your family safe during the long winter months."

The National Weather Service issues winter storm advisories, watches and warnings:

  • An advisory is issued when a light accumulation of freezing rain or sleet is forecast or if snow accumulations of one to three inches are expected.
  • Winter storm watches and warnings are issued if a quarter of an inch of freezing rain, a half-inch of sleet or four or more inches of snow is expected.
  • Watches can be issued as much as 48 hours in advance. A warning means winter weather is imminent and residents should make final preparations for the storm.
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