01/03/18 — Officials offer safety tips as the eastern region prepares for winter weather

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Officials offer safety tips as the eastern region prepares for winter weather

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on January 3, 2018 1:25 PM

With Wayne County preparing for snow and ice expected later today, emergency and public safety organizations both state and local are urging caution in dealing with the weather.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for much of the coastal plain of central North Carolina in effect from noon until 7 a.m. Thursday. The area had been under a winter weather advisory which has now been expanded west into the Triangle and Fayetteville areas from noon Wednesday until 7 a.m. Thursday.

According to a press release from Gov. Roy Cooper, extremely cold temperatures mean any precipitation that falls could be more difficult to clear from the roads. North Carolina Department of Transportation maintenance crews in Raleigh and points east are brining major roadways, bridges, overpasses and other common trouble spots in anticipation of the winter weather.

Brine can only be applied when temperatures are above 20 degrees, as the salt-water brine solution can freeze onto the roadways and create icy conditions when temperatures are in the teens.

Extreme cold in the evening and overnight also limits the ability of salt to melt snow and ice on roadways. Crews will need to wait for the rising temperature during the daytime to clear any ice.

Locally, Sheriff Larry Pierce advised Wayne County residents to avoid driving on major thoroughfares whenever possible.

"We're just asking people that, if it does snow and it covers the highway, to stay off the highways if you can, and if you have to drive then just be as safe and responsible as possible," he said. "We're hoping that it dissipates by Friday, but with it being so cold coming through we're a little worried about that."

North Carolina Emergency Management officials have released a list of tips for staying safe during the cold weather:

• Dress warmly for the cold. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.

• Always keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food in your home.

• Keep alternative heating sources and fire extinguishers on hand and be sure your family knows how to use them.

• 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 or use a grill indoors.

• Use a NOAA Weather Radio or monitor local news media for changing weather conditions. Keep fresh batteries on hand for weather radios and flashlights.

• If your pipes are uninsulated, keep faucets open to a slow drip to prevent pipes from freezing.

• Keep pets inside, out of the cold. Download the ReadyNC app for more winter weather preparedness information.

In addition, the State Highway Patrol offered a separate list of tips for staying safe on the road:

• The State Highway Patrol offers these tips for travel during winter weather:

• Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include a windshield scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first aid kit and road map.

• Keep your cell phone charged.

• Monitor fuel levels.

• Clear your windshield and other windows of snow and ice before traveling.

• Use headlamps and windshield wipers.

• Plan for delays and longer than usual travel times.

• Increase your following distance.

• Decrease your speed.

• Choose several routes as some roadways may be closed.

• Share your travel plans/routes with others.

• Always be aware of your location in case you become stranded.

• If your vehicle becomes disabled, stay inside the vehicle until assistance arrives.

• Contact 911 or *HP in emergency situations only. Visit DriveNC.gov for roadway conditions.