NC public safety officials: Prepare for winter weather

RALEIGH — With most of North Carolina under a winter weather advisory or winter storm watch, state Public Safety officials are urging residents and visitors to monitor local weather conditions and use caution when driving this evening and tomorrow morning.

“Our main concern with this storm is difficult travel conditions overnight and Wednesday morning,” said Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry. “Don’t take any unnecessary risks and use extra caution if you are driving.”

Graphic courtesy WFMY News 2 - Greensboro

Graphic courtesy WFMY News 2 – Greensboro

Weather forecasters have issued a winter storm warning calling for freezing rain, sleet and up to ¼ inch of ice for much of central North Carolina from the Virginia border counties to the Triangle and Fayetteville and over to Interstate 95. Most of the coastal plain, Triad and foothills are under a Winter Weather Advisory and could see freezing rain and sleet with ice amounts ranging from a trace to .10 inches. Freezing rain is expected overnight and into Wednesday for the greater Charlotte area and southern counties.

“Drivers should be aware that they could encounter patches of black ice once the sun goes down,” said Colonel Bill Grey, State Highway Patrol commander. “Treacherous road conditions are likely for much of central North Carolina Wednesday morning.”

To check road conditions, travelers are asked visit the NCDOT Traveler Information Management System at or call 511. That leaves the 911 lines clear for emergency calls.

The latest weather and road conditions can be found via the ReadyNC mobile app available free for iPhones and Android phones. For more information about storm response and recovery efforts, visit or follow NCEmergency on Facebook and Twitter.

If you must travel, the North Carolina Highway Patrol recommends following these safety tips:

· Reduce your speed. Driving at the regular speed limit will reduce your ability to control the car if you begin to slide.

· Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles.

· Bridges and overpasses accumulate ice first. Approach them with extreme caution and do not apply your brakes while on the bridge.

· If you do begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel IN THE DIRECTION OF THE SLIDE. Do NOT apply the brakes as that will cause further loss of control of the car.

While this storm is not expected to bring large amounts of snow and ice, nor cause widespread power outages, public safety officials said this is a good time to review winter safety tips:

· Keep alternative heating sources prepared. If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them

· Do not use charcoal grills or generators indoors; the fumes can be deadly.

· Turn off electrical appliances that were on when the power went off to avoid a power surge when the electricity is restored.

· Use flashlights. Do not use candles; they greatly increase the chance of having a fire in your home.

· Limit your activities to no more than two rooms and close off unneeded rooms.

· Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors and cover windows at night to keep cold air out and warm air in.

· If you have well water, fill up tubs and buckets with water so if the power goes out you still have water.

· Remember to eat and drink regularly. Food provides the body with energy to produce its own heat.

· Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration.

· Wear layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Layering clothes keeps you warmer than a single layer of heavy clothing. Remove layers to avoid overheating, perspiration and subsequent chill.

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