Local officals prepare for winter storm

Henderson-Vance County Emergency Operations Center instructions for dealing with the forecast severe winter storm

The Vance County Office of Emergency Management is actively preparing for the impact of a Severe Winter Storm forecast to arrive late Friday night.

Currently Vance County is under a Winter Storm Watch. This is will be escalated to a Winter Storm Warning at 6:00 PM tonight and will remain in effect until Midnight on Saturday.

The National Weather Service continues to forecast significant snowfall for our area. Snowfall estimates have now increased and are now expected to be between ten (10) and twelve (12) inches with locally higher amounts. The snow is forecast to begin on Friday night around 10:00 PM and is expected to last all night and continue through Saturday ending sometime late Saturday night.

Temperatures at the ground are expected to be below freezing at the time the snow begins to fall. The snowfall is expected to be heavy; therefore accumulation is expected to form fairly quickly.

“We are continuing to encourage everyone to stay off the roads as much as possible and to stay at home during this event” said Emergency Operations Director Brian K. Short. “If you absolutely must venture out we recommend that you do so only in a four wheel drive vehicle. Remember to drive slowly and to increase your following distance between you and the car in front of you.”

“As our roads may be impassible for several days after this event, individuals that take regular medications or are on home oxygen are encouraged to make sure they have enough of their needed medication to last them through early next week”, Short said.

“Individuals that have life sustaining medical appointments such as scheduled dialysis treatments are encouraged to contact their regular dialysis center and ascertain if they need to keep their scheduled appointment or wait until the roads are passable”.

Individuals with heart conditions or other serious physical ailments are encouraged not to attempt strenuous activities during this time such as shoveling snow. Emergency crews will be responding as best they can, however road conditions could cause significant delays in response.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has been treating the roadways for the past several days in anticipation of the coming snow. City of Henderson Public Works crews are standing by to begin the snow removal process on roadways in the City.

Progress Energy and Wake Electric are not anticipating power outages in our area as we are forecast to receive mostly snow. However, they have brought in extra crews and are poised to begin restoring power if it should become necessary.

Please DO NOT call 911 to report power outages. Contact your power company directly to report outages using the published numbers. Calling 911 to report a power outage will not get your power back on any faster. In fact, you may actually prevent someone with an actual emergency from getting through.

“The Vance County Emergency Operations Center will be activated with limited staffing at 6:00 AM on Saturday if the snowfall predictions prove to be accurate”, Emergency Operations Director, Brian K. Short said.

At this time there are no plans to open any emergency shelters and we are encouraging individuals to shelter in place in their homes and not to venture out unless they absolutely have to.

The Code Red emergency notification system was activated requesting that all citizens remain at home and not to venture out unless absolutely necessary.

A local Declaration of a State of Emergency is in place as of 4:00 PM today and we are poised to implement additional emergency protective measures if they should be required.

The North Carolina Division of Emergency Management has a limited number of National Guard assets at their disposal that will be available on an as needed, emergency basis.

“The Vance County E-911 Communications Center will be overstaffed throughout the event. Please do not call 911 unless you have a true emergency. DO NOT call 911 for weather updates, Short added. Stay tuned to local radio stations and TV for timely updates throughout the event.

For additional information you may call the Vance County Office of Emergency Operations at 252-438-8264, 252-492-8086 or 252-438-6544.

You may also visit our website at www.vancealert.com.

Further statements will be issued as this situation changes.