UPDATE 8 p.m.: North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are reporting approximately 27,700 outages, all in the southeastern portion of the state. Ice-laden tree limbs often cause outages as they come in contact with power lines.
UPDATE 4:14 p.m.: As snow and ice falls across the state, conditions have been deteriorating rapidly. Travel conditions statewide have been affected.
“We’re now seeing what we have been warning people about for the past 24 hours. This storm is dangerous,” Governor Pat McCrory said. “Road conditions are treacherous in many areas. We can’t stress enough: stay tuned to local media and pay attention to the weather. Do not travel unless it is an emergency. You are better off staying where you are in a safe place than getting on the road.”
Between midnight and 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Highway Patrol troopers responded to 1,360 calls for service across the state. Troopers typically respond to approximately 800 calls daily.
By 3:30 pm, utilities reported about 101,600 power outages statewide, mostly in New Hanover, Brunswick, Columbus and Pender counties. More power outages are expected over the next few days as conditions continue to deteriorate.
Raleigh, N.C. – “It is going to be a tough 48 hours,” Governor Pat McCrory (R-NC) said Wednesday as a snow and ice storm threatened the state.
The storm is expected to drop significant amounts of snow, ice and freezing rain across much of the Tar Heel State and McCrory and public safety officials warned residents to be ready for dangerous road conditions and loss of electricity.
“… Be prepared with safe, alternative heating sources; to dress in warm, loose-fitting layers of clothing; and to use flashlights, instead of candles, for safety purposes,” McCrory urged.
In parts of northeastern North Carolina, including Dare and Hyde counties, up to eight inches of snow fell throughout the day Tuesday and overnight. Further south along the coast, Craven, Jones and Pamlico counties got more than 10 inches of snow . To the east, areas from Fayetteville down to the South Carolina border along I-95 saw one to three inches of snow. In the west, the mountains got up to four inches of snow yesterday, and more snow is falling there now.
"Make no mistake, this is a dangerous storm. Roads will be treacherous, and we need everyone's help in limiting travel, so our team can make them safe again," said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata.
Tata said crews are ready to respond and have used nearly 2.8 million gallons of brine to treat major roadways across the state from Sunday to Tuesday. He stressed it will take some time to clear the thousands of miles of roadways.
Gov. McCrory issues a state of emergency Tuesday and the North Carolina National Guard has prepositioned 112 guardsmen with Humvees to help localities respond to the winter storm.
The state's electric cooperatives, which serve 93 of the North Carolina's 100 counties, have crews on standby across the state to restore electricity if and when the power goes out.
In Elizabeth City Thursday, NCDOT spokeswoman Jennifer Garith said crews are ready to respond if any winter weather hits those counties surrounding Elizabeth City.
"We are also making sure that equipment such as chain saws is in good working order should we need them for any potential debris removal," she said.
Brine spread in the Elizabeth City area:
Camden: 7,000 gallons
Gates: 8,000 gallons
Pasquotank: 8,000 gallons
Perquimans: 6,000 gallons
NCDOT employee and equipment breakdown by county:
Camden: 8 employees, 5 trucks, two graders
Gates: 17 employees, 6 trucks, two graders
Pasquotank: 13 employees, 7 trucks, two graders
Perquimans: 12 employees, 4 trucks, two graders