- By Todd Luck
- Posted Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Forsyth County Officials Encourage Winter Weather Preparedness
Dec. 4 - 10 is Winter Weather Preparedness Week. Forsyth County officials are joining Governor Roy Cooper encouraging North Carolinians to plan and prepare now, before potentially dangerous winter weather arrives.
“Now is the time to get prepared for winter weather by making sure your emergency supply kit is up to date, reviewing your family emergency plans with everyone in your home and staying informed about weather forecasts.” said August Vernon, Director Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Emergency Management.
North Carolina’s proximity to the Appalachian Mountains, Atlantic Ocean, Gulf Stream and Gulf of Mexico creates complex winter weather forecasts. La Niña conditions will influence the weather across the state this year, which typically means warmer and drier conditions across the southeast. However, Kevin Kalbaugh, NC Emergency Management Natural Hazards Branch Manager and Meteorologist warns that winter storms can and do still occur.
“When the central Pacific Ocean has cooler than normal waters, what is known as La Niña, it’s an indication that North Carolina may see fewer chances of snow and ice.,” Kalbaugh says. “However, while we expect to have La Niña conditions through the winter months, that doesn’t mean the state won’t be impacted by severe winter weather, so it’s better to be prepared.”
During winter weather events, emergency managers advise that the best way to stay safe is to stay informed and pay close attention to the latest forecast using local media or a National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration weather radio and be alert for changing weather conditions. It’s important to know what different winter weather headlines mean and even though the criteria for winter weather watches, warnings and advisories vary across North Carolina they all have the same premises, so remember:
- Winter Storm Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for either heavy snow, sleet, or freezing rain within the next 24-48 hours.
- Winter Storm Warning is issued when confidence is high that a winter storm will cause significant impacts within the next 24 hours.
- Winter Weather Advisory is issued when wintry weather is expected and residents should exercise caution as light to moderate amounts of snow, sleet, or freezing rain are expected within the next 24 hours, causing travel difficulties.
To help ensure you are ready for winter weather, emergency managers suggest keeping at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food as well as medications in your home, along with fresh batteries on hand for weather radios and flashlights. Be sure to dress warmly by wearing multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
When using alternative heating sources be sure you know how to safely operate them. It’s especially important to properly vent kerosene heaters and keep any electric generators outside and away from open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning; and never burn charcoal indoors. It’s also important to keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
If you must travel during bad weather, emergency officials remind motorists to leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles and, if driving on snow- or ice-covered roadways, reduce your speed. If conditions worsen, pull off the roadway and remain in your vehicle. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you can take shelter. You should also store an emergency kit in your vehicle that includes a scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first aid kit and a road map.
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 supplies 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.
More information on overall emergency preparedness can be found online at www.ReadyForsyth.org
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