State of Emergency
Published 5:53 pm Monday, February 16, 2015
Old Man Winter isn’t ready to let go just yet.
On Monday, Governor Pat McCrory has issued a State of Emergency declaration ahead of a winter storm that entered North Carolina Monday afternoon and is expected to hit the state with snow, sleet and freezing rain.
McCrory said North Carolina’s State Emergency Response Team is preparing for the approaching winter storm and recommended that residents do the same.
“We are working with all necessary departments and local emergency management crews to keep residents safe and informed regarding potentially hazardous weather conditions,” said Governor McCrory. “We’re asking that each resident and family do the same by paying attention to the weather forecast and following instructions from local officials.”
On Monday, McCrory signed two executive orders to expedite storm response. The State of Emergency declaration enables the governor to mobilize the necessary resources to respond to a storm and is the first step in seeking federal funds to help defray eligible storm-related costs. 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 storm debris.
McCrory also activated the State Emergency Operations Center to coordinate storm response and directed the State Highway Patrol to coordinate with other law enforcement and emergency responders statewide to mark abandoned vehicles to ensure that no one is left stranded in the dangerous weather. Additionally, he reminded motorists of the state’s quick clearance policy, instructing state transportation crews to clear the road by pushing to the shoulder any vehicles that may impede traffic.
Weather forecasts call for snow to begin mid-afternoon Monday across much of the state, starting in the western counties and moving east. Predicted snow accumulations vary from two to four inches in the Foothills, Triad and Virginia-border counties and one to two inches in the greater Charlotte and Triangle areas, as well as the northeastern counties. By 8 p.m. sleet and freezing rain was expected to cover much of the state and will continue through Tuesday morning.
With the low temperatures, the sleet and freezing rain will accumulate as ice, making roads treacherous and coating trees and power lines. Accumulations of one-quarter inch or more on trees and power lines often leads to power outages.
The Highway Patrol shifted resources to cover potential trouble spots. And troopers will be actively looking for abandoned vehicles and tagging cars to ensure motorist safety. Additionally, National Guard troops are on standby and prepared to respond as needed.
NCDOT worked proactively on Monday in advance of winter weather, with nearly 1,300 workers and nearly 500 trucks distributing more than 1.3 million gallons of salt brine across the state’s roadways.
“We will be monitoring conditions and working around the clock to clear our roadways, and we urge everyone to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata.
Real-time weather and road conditions and shelter openings, as well as winter safety tips, can be found on the free ReadyNC mobile app or on line at www.readync.org web site.
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.
Crews in all 14 counties within NCDOT’s Division One spread salt brine on all N.C. and U.S. routes, and major secondary roads. These counties include Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Martin, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties. Salt brine is a mix of salt and water used to prevent ice from forming and adhering to road surfaces.
Those crews were sent home early Monday so they can rest and come in later Monday night. Crews will work in shifts around the clock to clear roads and make sure that they are safe for motorists.
Crews have made sure that equipment, including plows and salt spreaders are ready, and that chainsaws are in proper working order for use in the event of any falling trees due to ice. In areas of the division where precipitation falls as sleet or freezing rain and cannot be plowed, crews will spread salt, as well as sand in some areas.