CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The forecast calling for a possible mix of rain and snow coincides with Winter Weather Preparedness Week, and local officials are planning now to deal with the possibility of slick roads on Friday.
WBTV has deemed Friday to be a First Alert Day based on the current forecast.
"While there could be some wet spots for the morning commute, it looks like the intensity picks up during the second half of the day. For most of us, this will be a cold rain," said WBTV meteorologist Lyndsay Tapases. "The question mark remains as to whether or not we see some wet snow mix in with the rain. This will be the constant battle we always seem to face around here between the cold air and moisture overlapping in such a way to support some snow. 2/3 of our main weather computer models seem to think this is a possibility, while the third, and sometimes more reliable European model, is not quite convinced that the cold air makes it far enough south to support a snow profile."
Local officials say they are monitoring forecasts, while the state is treating roads in some areas.
"We are monitoring the weather closely. We will not be able to brine effectively because of the rain which will come first," said Annette Privette Keller of the City of Kannapolis. "If there is any ice or significant accumulations we will be ready but do not anticipate any problems."
In Salisbury, officials are "checking equipment to make sure they are ready in the case that we need them, monitoring weather reports and prepping materials."
Department of Transportation crews in Alexander, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell and Lincoln counties are mobilizing to treat interstates and primary divided roads today. The division maintains more than 12,700 miles of primary and secondary routes. More than 200 employees are trained to respond to winter weather.
Crews will treat road surfaces with brine, a salt-water mixture that helps keep ice from bonding to the pavement.
The forecast for Friday comes as Governor Roy Cooper has declared Dec. 3 – 9, 2017 as Winter Weather Preparedness Week and is urging North Carolinians to plan, prepare and be ready for potentially dangerous winter weather in the months ahead.
"North Carolina has seen its share of snow and ice storms in recent years and we need to be ready for the next one," Governor Cooper said. "As winter begins, make sure you review your emergency plans, update your emergency supply kit and stay informed about weather forecasts."
Each year there are approximately six to 12 winter storms in the Piedmont, 10 or more winter storms in the mountains and usually fewer than four winter storms that impact the coastal counties.
"Many families are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew and other disasters," explained state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. "Emergency managers are working daily with impacted communities to help them recover from these storms. But it is critical that we also prepare for any winter storm that can bring different hazards."
It is important to monitor changing weather conditions by monitoring local media carefully. When winter weather warnings are issued, be prepared for possible power outages or dangerous driving conditions. Remember: Winter Storm Watch means severe winter conditions are expected within 24-48 hours, while a Winter Storm Warning indicates that dangerous accumulations of snow and/or ice are likely within 24 hours. Advisories indicate that winter weather conditions are expected to cause delays and problems within 24 hours.
To get ready for winter weather, North Carolina 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 for the cold. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
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.
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, emergency officials remind motorists to drive safely. Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles and if driving on snow or ice-covered roadways, reduce speed. If conditions worsen, be sure to 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.