The governor of North Carolina has declared a state of emergency as the state braces for a major winter storm, with thousands expected to lose power.
“North Carolina is gearing up for a major winter storm and we’re taking all steps necessary to have the resources we need in place to respond,” North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said in a Friday statement. “Snow may be beautiful but it can also be treacherous and I urge North Carolinians to take this storm seriously and get ready for it now.”
A state of emergency has been called for all of North Carolina’s 100 counties as a winter storm — which Cooper referred to as “the real thing” — is due to hit the state by Saturday evening, bringing six or more inches of snow over the weekend.
Duke Energy, a North Carolina-based utility company, is warning that freezing rain, heavy wet snow and sleet could cause around 500,000 power outages across the Carolinas — a brutal combination for residents planning to bunker down in their homes during the storm. (RELATED: Prepare Yourself For The Next Snow Storm With This Bestselling Snow Blower)
“There remains a lot of uncertainty with this storm,” Duke Energy chief meteorologist Nick Keener said in a Friday statement. “A slight change in the storm’s track or in the temperature could result in fewer or even more outages, so everyone needs to be prepared.”
Over six inches of snow and an accumulation of ice, Duke Energy warns, will result in sagging branches and falling trees knocking down power lines. Furthermore, hazardous roads brought on by ice and snow increases the chances of vehicles hitting power poles or other electrical infrastructure.
Despite Duke reporting they have over 8,700 employees on call to respond once conditions permit, the utility predicts power outages could last for multiple days. Cooper has also activated the North Carolina National Guard to help with recovery.
While nearly all part of North Carolina is expected to feel the effects of the storm, some regions will get harder, getting hit with up to 18 inches of snow and ice.
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