News Flash

Marketing & Communications

Posted on: December 7, 2020

Prepare Now for Winter Weather

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Office of Emergency Management logo

NEWS RELEASE
Emergency Management
Dec. 7, 2020

State and local officials are encouraging North Carolinians to plan and prepare now for winter storms, during Winter Weather Preparedness Week, Dec. 6 - 12.

August Vernon, the director of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Office of Emergency Management, said it pays to be prepared before dangerous winter weather arrives. “Take time now to review emergency plans, update emergency supply kits and always stay informed about weather forecasts,” Vernon said. 

North Carolina’s unpredictable winter weather patterns can be attributed to the state’s proximity to the Appalachian Mountains, Atlantic Ocean, Gulf Stream and Gulf of Mexico. Each year the Piedmont receives six to 12 winter storms. When winter storms are expected residents should monitor local media weather reports and pay attention to winter weather warnings.

 A winter storm watch is issued when conditions are favorable for snow, sleet or freezing rain within 48 hours. If a winter storm is imminent, a watch will be upgraded to a warning or an advisory. A winter storm warning is issued when confidence is high that a winter storm is likely to produce at least 3 inches of snow, or ice accumulations of a quarter of an inch or more, within the next 24 hours. A winter weather advisory is issued when lesser amounts of snow or ice accumulation are expected within the next 24 hours and could cause travel difficulties.

Kevin Kalbaugh, a meteorologist with North Carolina Emergency Management, says that La Niña conditions are currently present and expectations are they will continue through the winter months. La Niña conditions occur when the ocean waters are cooler than normal in the central Pacific Ocean. 

“A La Niña pattern during the winter typically favors warmer and drier conditions across the southeastern United States, Kalbaugh said, and this is shown in the latest winter outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. North Carolina residents are reminded that even when winters are predicted to be warmer and drier than usual, winter storms can and do still occur.” 

To help ensure you are ready for winter weather, emergency management officials urge you to: 

  • 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.
  • Dress warmly. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
  • Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep any electric generators outside and away from open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Never burn charcoal indoors.
  • Use a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio to monitor for changing weather conditions.
  • Keep alternative heating sources and fire extinguishers on hand. Be sure your family knows how to use them.
  • Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first aid kit and road map.

If you must travel during bad weather, leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles. If driving on snow- or ice-covered roadways, reduce your speed. If conditions worsen, pull off the highway and remain in your vehicle. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you can take shelter. 

Don’t forget to include pets in your emergency plans. To keep animals safe during winter weather, emergency management officials recommend you:

  • Make an emergency supply kit for your pet and include medical records, first aid kit, enough canned/dry food and water for three to seven days and a pet travel bag or carrier.
  • Do not leave pets outside for long periods of time.
  • Ensure your pet has a well-fitting collar.
  • Bring pets inside when temperatures drop below freezing.
  • Move livestock and other animals to a sheltered location with food and water.

For more information on how to prepare for winter storms, visit ReadyForsyth.org or ReadyNC.org. Emergency Management also posts updated information on its ReadyForsyth Facebook page. 

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