The winter storm is expected to bring significant ice accumulation but not much in the way of snow.
A Winter Storm Warning & Winter Weather Advisory now for tonight into Thursday. Significant #ice accumulations possible. Use the nice weather today to prepare! Add blankets, & your hurricane kit works great for winter: https://t.co/jIyizuLqtL pic.twitter.com/u3YrUURSwj
— 𝘿𝙤𝙣 𝙎𝙘𝙝𝙬𝙚𝙣𝙣𝙚𝙠𝙚𝙧 (@BigweatherABC11) February 17, 2021
A Winter Storm Warning can be issued if ice accumulation will be at least half an inch. A Winter Weather Advisory can be issued if ice accumulation up to .25 inches is expected.
- Winter Storm Warning in effect until 7 a.m. Feb. 19: Alamance; Durham; Forsyth; Granville; Guilford; Orange; Person; Vance; Warren
- Winter Weather Advisory in effect until 7 a.m. Feb. 19: Chatham; Franklin; Halifax; Lee; Montgomery; Moore; Nash; Stanly; Wake
ABC11 Meteorologist Chris Hohmann said the worst of the ice will take place north of Interstate 85. However, some ice could stretch south as far as Pinehurst.
Estimated power outages
Duke Energy is projecting that the hazardous wintry precipitation and high-winds could cause nearly 1 million power outages – some lasting several days – beginning Thursday in North Carolina and South Carolina, based on the storm’s current forecasted track.
Duke Energy said it has thousands of employees supporting the company’s response, including 5,400 line technicians and vegetation workers. More than 1,300 of those workers are from the company’s Midwest and Florida service areas and from other companies providing assistance.
“This forecast for icy weather is a real threat for widespread power outages,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “People need to be ready to stay home and be prepared to lose power for a while, especially in the northern, western and Piedmont counties.”
The governor said he will issue an 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 that have lost power. The governor also authorized the activation of 40 National Guard personnel to support fallen tree and debris removal.
Officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services are cautioning people not to use gasoline-powered generators or tools, outdoor grills and camp stoves in enclosed spaces. These devices should be used outside only and at least 20 feet away from windows, doors and air vents to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
To stay safe:
- Do not use gasoline-powered tools, generators or engines in enclosed or even partially enclosed spaces. Use them outdoors, at least 20 feet from doors, windows and air vents.
- Do not use charcoal grills or propane stoves indoors, even in a fireplace.
- Never use the stove or other gas appliances to heat your home.
- Do not idle your car, truck or other vehicle in the garage, even if the garage door to the outside is open. Fumes can build up quickly in the garage and living area of your home.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and maintenance. If used correctly, these detectors can save lives by alerting people to increasing levels of carbon monoxide in the home.
- Keep rooms well ventilated.
Ice is on the way: Tips for driving in winter weather
Wednesday is going to be a clear and sunny day, despite being colder than average. But then, early Thursday morning rain and freezing cold temperatures will arrive.
With ice accumulation over .25 inches, power outages are likely. If you live north of I-85, consider using Wednesday to get supplies and prepare for the storm.
The freezing rain could last through the morning and into early afternoon. Temperatures will rise above freezing by noon, and rain will continue falling for much of the day.
How to survive power outages in the winter
The rain Thursday could be heavy in spots, causing flooding problems for some.
The rain ends early Friday, and we might see some sun with highs in the 40s.
Due to anticipated weather, Wake County Public Schools announced it has canceled all of its in-person instruction and will transition to remote learning on Thursday, Feb. 18.
Durham Public Schools facilities will also be closed and remote learning, meal services and in-person events will be canceled on Thursday.
School-based virtual events will be canceled as well due to the possibility of power outages. The day will be a teacher workday and there will be no scheduled online classes. DPS will use accumulated instructional hours to make up the day.
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