Lt. Gov. Dalton, in consultation with Gov. Perdue, declared a State of Emergency Saturday for the entire state due to the expected winter storm. Executed under the Emergency Management Act, the declaration enables the governor or lieutenant governor to mobilize the necessary resources to respond to a storm.
The N.C. Division of Emergency Management is coordinating with local emergency agencies across the state.
The N.C. Department of Transportation earlier this week spread a brine solution on interstates and major US routes. Transportation crews in the western part of the state began clearing snow from the roads earlier this morning. Crews in the central and eastern parts of the state are on standby and will begin clearing roadways as needed.
Motorists are urged to remain safe distances behind snow plows and salt spreaders to give workers ample room.
The N.C. State Highway Patrol has more than 140 troopers on standby to help with weather-related calls in addition to the extra troopers that already scheduled to help the motoring public over the holiday weekend. National Guard also has placed some of its staff on standby to assist as needed.
The entire state is under a winter weather warning and much of North Carolina can expect three to six inches of snow between now and late Sunday evening. Some areas, such as the mountains and along the I-95 corridor, could see even more.
State highway patrol and emergency management officials are warning that travel could be treacherous later tonight and through much of Sunday. Falling nighttime temperatures could lead to patches of black ice again Monday and Tuesday morning.
"We know many people are traveling for the holidays and we want everyone to be extremely cautious,” said state Emergency Management Director Doug Hoell. “Anyone who is thinking of driving during the next few days, should pay careful attention to the weather and traffic forecasts before heading out.”
If you absolutely must travel, the North Carolina Highway Patrol recommends the following precautions:
Reduce your speed. Driving at the regular speed limit will reduce your ability to control the car if you begin to slide.
Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles.
Bridges and overpasses accumulate ice first. Approach them with extreme caution and do not apply your brakes while on the bridge.
If you do begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Do not apply the brakes as that will cause further loss of control of the car.