Gov. Cooper declares state of emergency for North Carolina due to winter storm

Gov. Cooper declares state of emergency for North Carolina due to winter storm
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency due to a winter storm impacting the state Thursday. (Source: Robert Willett)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency due to a winter storm impacting the state Thursday.

On Wednesday, Governor Cooper declared a state of emergency and granted transportation waivers to help speed power restoration. He has also authorized the activation of up to 40 National Guard personnel to assist with fallen tree and debris removal.

On Thursday, the governor provided and Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry outlined impacts and response to the winter storm.

Effects of Thursday’s ice storm were being felt most significantly in northern and western counties. North Carolina utility companies reported nearly 23,000 power outages statewide as of 1:35 p.m. 

These were largely due to ice accumulation bringing down trees and power lines. Extra utility crews are at work to restore power as quickly as possible.

Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry asked residents to refrain from calling 911 to report power outages, and to report those directly to utility companies. 

He offered a critical safety rule if your power goes out: Do not operate a generator or gas grill inside your home or garage. This can result in a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide fumes.

The governor thanked first responders, emergency managers, law enforcement, utility workers and others across the state who are working on storm response.

“They have worked tirelessly to help get people to safety and already have begun repairing the damage,” said Governor Cooper. “I am grateful for their resilience.”

LIVE: Roy Cooper talks about weather and coronavirus

WATCH LIVE: North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper holds presser on COVID-19 and winter weather. https://bit.ly/3bcOuvS

Posted by WBTV News on Thursday, February 18, 2021

Duke Energy previously projected nearly 1 million people will lose power in the North Carolina and South Carolina due to the looming winter storm.

The governor issued the executive order in advance of the inclement weather, declaring a state of emergency and allowing for transportation waivers permitting utility companies to bring repair crews from out of state and get faster access to communities who have lost power.

Gov. Cooper also authorized the activation of 40 National Guard personnel to support fallen tree and debris removal.

North Carolina Emergency Management is monitoring the storm’s progress and is prepared to assist counties with any storm-related needs. Emergency managers offer these tips for staying safe during this ice storm:

  • Be prepared for power outages by making sure you have several days supply of food, medicine and water
  • Make sure your cell phone and other electronic or medical devices are fully charged, along with any backup batteries
  • Don’t park your car under trees or power lines
  • Use battery powered lights, instead of candles, if your power goes out
  • Avoid running generators or grills in your home or garage if your power goes out. Deadly carbon monoxide fumes can accumulate while using generators or grills indoors.

Visit ReadyNC.org for more information on preparing for winter weather. Follow @NC Emergency on Twitter and Facebook for the latest winter weather forecast and for preparedness information.

Temperatures will fall below freezing Thursday night and into Friday morning where any lingering moisture will re-freeze, creating hazardous road conditions. Conditions will improve Friday, as temperatures will rise above freezing across North Carolina.

With periods of moderate to heavy rainfall expected Thursday afternoon and evening, the threat for flash flooding will increase within the eastern half of North Carolina currently under a Flash Flood Watch. River levels will continue to rise, with two locations expected to reach Major Flood Stage – the Tar River at Greenville and the Lumber River at Lumberton.

Visit FIMAN.nc.gov for the latest flood information from the state’s network of more than 500 river, stream and coastal gauges.

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