Winter Weather Preparedness Week 2020

Weather Stories

COURTESY OF GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

Before we get into the brunt of winter, North Carolina’s Emergency Management Agency wants you to be prepared for the day you need to bust out your ice scraper or run your car’s defrost. Every year on record in Raleigh, since 1887, has received at least some snowflakes or ice during the winter season. That means it is inevitable in the next three months we will see a chance of either snow or ice.

One of the worst road hazards is black ice. Black ice forms when roads are wet and temperatures drop below freezing, causing the water to freeze. You can’t see it because the ice is clear, so it looks just like the black road underneath it. Black ice is most prevalent on bridges because the bottom is exposed so temperatures drop much faster, but black ice can form on any road surface. If you don’t have an ice scraper or jumper cables, you may want to add those to your next shopping list. Both of them are car essentials in winter to make sure you can travel safely.

When temperatures drop, regardless if we see wintry precipitation or not, be sure to protect outdoor pets and livestock. Prolonged exposure to the cold can cause injury or death just as it does to us. Also, their outside water bowls will freeze when temperatures drop below 32.

If you do have to head outside when it is cold, be sure to dress in multiple layers and not one, large thick layer. Multiple layers protects you in from and precipitation and wind, keeps your body heat close to you, and removes moisture from your skin so it doesn’t freeze.

Knowing the difference between Winter Storm Watches, Warnings, and Advisories are also important. A Winter Storm Watch is issued 18 to 48 hours ahead of an event where at least 3 inches of snow, 1/4 inch of freezing rain, or 1/2 inch of sleet are expected. A Winter Storm Warning is issued when the conditions of a Winter Storm Watch are expected within 12 to 24 hours. A Winter Weather Advisory is issued when 1-3 inches of snow, less than 1/4 inch of freezing rain, and less than 1/2 inch of sleet are expected. In some cases, a Winter Weather Advisory may be issued without a Winter Storm Watch.

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