Published: 2015-02-16 12:23:00
Updated: 2015-02-16 15:28:18
Posted February 16, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina's emergency management director said Monday residents should be prepared for power outages, treacherous driving conditions and extreme cold as a winter storm approaches the area.
Raleigh could see a quarter to a half an inch of ice accumulate on roads and surfaces – enough to weigh down tree branches and power lines.
"We’re gearing up for power outages," especially along the Charlotte/Raleigh/Rocky Mount line, said Mike Sprayberry, director of the state Division of Emergency Management.
Flakes could begin to fall as early as 4 p.m. in central North Carolina, but the brunt of the storm won't be evident until Tuesday morning and could leave residents in the dark.
"Tuesday is going to be a very cold day, so we won't see very much melting," said WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner. "You'll want to plan for power outages. Have an emergency kit available Monday by 5 p.m."
Duke Energy was mobilizing crews across the the state in anticipation of power problems.
"We're also working to bring in resources from Florida that will stage tonight in the South Carolina area so they can come in once the storm hits," said Duke Energy spokeswoman Amy Strecker. "We're also beginning conversations with our Midwest utilities ... We want to have all our resources ready so they can engage as soon as it's safe outside."
Strecker says as little as a quarter inch of ice can bring down tree limbs, which can bring down power lines, and half an inch of ice can bring down the lines themselves.
"Our No. 1 priority when restoring power is safety of our crews and customers," Strecker said. "So folks, never approach a downed power line. Assume it's live. Go ahead and call Duke Energy and report that line."