RALEIGH – Winter Weather Preparedness Week is Dec. 3-9 and Gov. Roy Cooper is encouraging North Carolinians to plan and prepare now, before potentially dangerous winter weather arrives.
“North Carolina weather can be challenging, especially in winter when extreme cold increases your risks,” Governor Cooper said. “The best way to meet these challenges is to prepare by updating emergency preparedness kits and staying informed by paying attention to trusted and official sources of information regarding weather forecasts and alerts. If you don’t have a family emergency plan, now is the time to make one and be sure to review it with your family so you all know what to do to stay safe. And don’t forget your pets, if you’re cold, they are as well.”
This winter, North Carolina will likely be impacted by an El Niño pattern, which favors above normal precipitation across the state. The North Carolina State Climate Office predicts that it will take a while for us to see most of the impact of these weather changes but expect a shift to wetter-than-normal conditions to arrive in January/February. While seasonal snow forecasts are complicated, historical odds favor at least one measurable snowfall for most of the state this winter.
Governor Cooper urges residents to monitor winter weather conditions and forecasts by listening to local media and paying close attention to winter weather watches, warnings and advisories. While the criteria for these may vary across North Carolina the premise is the same so remember:
Winter Storm Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for either heavy snow, sleet, or freezing rain within the next 24-48 hours.
Winter Storm Warning is issued when confidence is high that a winter storm will cause significant impacts within the next 12-36 hours.
Winter Weather Advisory is issued when wintry weather is expected and residents should exercise caution as light to moderate amounts of snow, sleet, or freezing rain are expected within the next 12-36 hours, causing travel difficulties.
To help ensure you are ready for winter weather, North Carolina Emergency Management officials urge you to:
- Always keep at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food and a supply of medication in your home.
- Keep fresh batteries on hand for weather radios and flashlights.
- Dress warmly. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
- Properly vent kerosene heaters and ensure any electric generators are operated outside and away from open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Never burn charcoal indoors.
- Use a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio or a weather alert app on your phone to monitor changing weather conditions.
- Keep alternative heating sources and fire extinguishers on hand. Be sure your family knows how to use them.
- Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first-aid kit and road map.
- Make an emergency supplies kit for your pet and include medical records, first-aid kit, enough canned/dry food and water for three to seven days and pet travel bag or carrier.
- Do not leave pets outside for long periods of time.
- Ensure your pet has a well-fitting collar.
- Bring pets inside when temperatures drop below freezing.
- Move livestock and other animals to a sheltered location with food and water.
If you must travel during bad weather, emergency officials remind motorists to leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles and, if driving on snow- or ice-covered roadways, reduce your speed. If conditions worsen, pull off the highway and remain in your vehicle. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you can take shelter.
The Department of Public Safety and the National Weather Service work together to help North Carolinians plan and prepare for winter weather by providing accurate weather and safety information.
For more information on how to prepare for winter storms and other hazards that affect North Carolina, visit www.readync.gov.