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Public Safety Officials Urge Public to Prepare for Blast of Winter Weather

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Western Counties Will See Greatest Impacts of Ice, Rest of the State Will Get Heavy Rain 

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper is encouraging the public to pay close attention to their local forecast and be prepared for ice in western counties. State emergency and transportation officials are closely monitoring weather and road conditions and are working with local emergency officials to provide support if needed.

“The biggest threat for western North Carolina will be ice on power lines and scattered downed tree limbs,” Governor Cooper said. “Other parts of state will see heavy rain in areas that are already saturated. Everyone should be prepared for power outages, flooding and potentially hazardous travel conditions.”

Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories will go into effect across portions of western NC this evening at 7 p.m. and continue through 1 p.m. on Thursday. Flood and Flash Flood Watches have been posted for much of the state through 7 p.m. Thursday.

Wintry Weather Across Western NC

Rain will begin to transition to a wintry mix (primarily freezing rain with some sleet) across portions of western NC this evening and continue through Thursday morning. The greatest impacts are expected across the northern mountains and across higher elevations of the southern mountains. These areas will likely see scattered downed trees and power outages along with hazardous travel conditions, especially on bridges, overpasses, and secondary roads. Many primary roads will remain warm enough to prevent widespread travel issues.

Most areas will see conditions improve and precipitation change back to rain late Thursday morning or early Thursday afternoon as temperatures rise above freezing. Rain showers will mix with snow again Thursday night across the higher elevations along the Tennessee border, but accumulations will remain light.

The northern mountains and higher elevations of the southern mountains could see 0.2 to 0.5 inches of ice and up to 2 inches of sleet. Lower elevations of the southern mountains, northern Piedmont, and Foothills could see a trace to 0.15 inches of ice and a trace to 1 inch of sleet. In the Triad, a glaze of ice is possible on elevated surfaces early Thursday morning.

Heavy Rain Across Much of State

Rain coverage and intensity will increase overnight from southwest to northeast and continue into Thursday afternoon. Widespread additional rainfall totals of one to two inches are expected with two to three inches possible across western NC and along the Outer Banks. These rainfall amounts on an already saturated ground will lead to additional flooding of rivers/streams and some flash flooding. It will also be breezy across most of the state tonight and Thursday with winds gusting 15-to-30 mph. Areas along the immediate coast, especially across northeastern NC, could see winds gusts of 30-to-40 mph on Thursday.

Isolated Severe Storms Across Coast

While the greatest threat of thunderstorms will remain offshore, isolated severe storms are possible across portions of eastern NC on Thursday. Thunderstorms that develop may be capable of producing damaging wind gusts and possibly a tornado or two.

To get ready for winter weather, North Carolina Emergency Management officials urge you to:

*Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first aid kit and road map.
*Always keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food in your home.
*Keep fresh batteries on hand for weather radios and flashlights.
*Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep electric generators outside and away from open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not burn charcoal indoors.
*Use a NOAA Weather Radio or monitor local news media for changing weather conditions.
*Keep alternative heating sources and fire extinguishers on hand. Be sure your family knows how to use them.
*Download the ReadyNC app for more winter weather preparedness information.