‘Be prepared to lose power for a while’: Gov. Cooper declaring state of emergency ahead of winter storm


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Gov. Roy Cooper will issue a state of emergency Wednesday ahead of an incoming winter storm.

North Carolinians in the northern, western and Piedmont counties could experience power outages due to the possibility of significant icing that is likely to result in many fallen trees and power lines.

“This forecast for icy weather is a real threat for widespread power outages,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “People need to be ready to stay home and be prepared to lose power for a while, especially in the northern, western and Piedmont counties.”

These areas especially north and west could see between one-quarter and one-half inch of ice or more. Power outages are common with as little as a quarter-inch of icing on trees and power lines.

Cooper will issue an Executive Order on Wednesday in advance of the inclement weather, declaring a state of emergency and allowing for transportation waivers permitting utility companies to bring repair crews from out of state and get faster access to communities who have lost power.

Duke Energy is projecting that Thursday’s wintry weather could knock out power to 1 million customers across North and South Carolina.

The Utility warned some of the outages could last several days.

“Duke Energy has thousands of employees supporting the company’s response, including 5,400 line technicians and vegetation workers,” Duke Energy said. “More than 1,300 of those workers are from the company’s Midwest and Florida service areas and from other companies providing assistance.”

The forecast of accumulating ice has Duke Energy concerned – ice buildup of a quarter-inch or more is often the threshold amount that causes trees and branches to fall.

Total ice accumulations could be one-quarter to one-half inch, with locally higher accumulations.

This will likely create issues on the roads and along the Interstate-85 corridor. Ice conditions will also likely leady to power outages and downed trees.

The Winter Storm Warning includes Person, Granville, Vance, Warren, Orange, and Durham counties in North Carolina, and Mecklenburg County in Virginia.

RELATED: CBS 17 Storm Team Interactive Radar

It will be in effect from midnight on Thursday until 7 a.m. Friday. Impacts will include power outages and tree damage.

The governor has also authorized the activation of 40 National Guard personnel to support the fallen tree and debris removal.

State transportation officials advise that unnecessary travel should be avoided late tonight and Thursday across much of western and central North Carolina due to ice on roads and falling trees. Downed trees and power lines can be very difficult to see at night.

State transportation workers have started brining major highways, bridges and overpasses in some areas. As of 11 a.m., crews had placed nearly 30,000 gallons of brine on roads in the Triangle, Piedmont Triad, Charlotte area and mountains.

Crews are loading trucks with salt and sand so deicing operations can start during the storm’s aftermath. Transportation crews will be working through the night to clear roads, as necessary.

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