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Published: 2008-11-30 12:01:00
Updated: 2008-11-30 16:00:40
Posted November 30, 2008 12:01 p.m. EST
Updated November 30, 2008 4:00 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Mike Easley has urged North Carolinians to learn how to stay safe and warm when winter storms strike.
Easley declared Nov. 30-Dec. 6 as Winter Weather Awareness Week to encourage residents to prepare for winter storms.
Two early snowfalls and colder than normal temperatures should serve as a reminder, the governor said.
"Despite the fact that our recent winters have been fairly mild, we have to be prepared for severe winter storms," Easley said.
"People should update their household emergency plan and make sure families have water, nonperishable food, blankets and other supplies now, before ice and snow arrive."
Forecasters say winter in North Carolina could be wetter and colder than the past few seasons, despite a Southern outlook for drier and warmer conditions.
The state will see a decrease in global weather patterns that made past winters warmer and drier, National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Orrock said.
Forecasters examined weather records for past years when conditions were similar to the start of this winter. They found, Orrock said, that the temperatures stayed colder and more precipitation fell during those winters.
North Carolina's last active winter was in 2004, when about 2 feet of snow fell in Asheboro.
The governor warned that most winter-storm deaths are caused by traffic accidents, falling trees, downed power lines, house fires and carbon-monoxide poisoning from improperly used space heaters, grills and stoves.