Rain, Ice, Snow…Cold or Warm?

Alamance County has already seen hints of winter with the dramatic drop in temperatures a few weeks ago. However, that doesn’t mean we’re going to get snow.

Winters in Alamance County, like in much of the state, are unpredictable. Last year, the county had a few days of snow and one major ice storm that left people without power, heat, and transportation. In previous years, there has been rain, sleet, ice, snow and severe storms. It’s really a toss-up as to what we will have this year.

With this winter being such a guessing game, how do Alamance County residents know what to do?

It’s easy! Get ready just like you would for any other emergency – with a few extras. Follow three easy steps: make a plan, build an emergency supplies kit for your home and car, and stay informed by monitoring changing weather conditions by listening to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio, local radio and television stations.

Follow these basic winter safety tips:

  • Keep alternative heating sources prepared. If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them.
  • Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep any electric generators OUTSIDE and away from any open windows or doors to prevent deadly carbon monoxide fumes from poisoning your family. Never burn charcoal indoors.
  • Keep fresh batteries on hand to use with flashlights and weather radios.
  • Always keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food in your home.
  • Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing to stay warm.
  • If you must travel during a winter storm, store an emergency kit in your vehicle that includes: blankets, a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, a first aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, battery booster cables and flares, a tire repair kit and pump, a road map, a sack of cat litter (for tire traction), a tow rope, bottled water and non-perishable high-energy foods such as granola bars, extra clothing to keep dry, and a windshield scraper and brush.
  • If driving on snow- or ice-covered roadways, reduce your speed. Driving at the regular speed limit will reduce your ability to control the car if you begin to slide. Leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles. If conditions worsen and you can no longer drive safely, pull off the highway. Stay calm and remain in your vehicle. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter.

Winter storms are known as “deceptive killers” as most deaths attributed to winter storms result from indirect dangers such as traffic accidents, falling trees, downed power lines, house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from improper use of space heaters, grills and stoves. During the cold winter months, be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning that can occur from improper heating. The colorless, odorless carbon monoxide gas can be deadly and is produced from fuel-burning appliances, generators and heaters.

Alamance County Emergency Management reminds residents to stay safe this winter.   Register for Emergency Notifications, shelter information, and storm response and recovery by texting ALAMANCE to 888777, or visiting www.alamance-nc.com/firemarshal/get-alerts/.

North Carolina Emergency Management also has a free ReadyNC mobile app that provides real-time traffic,  weather, shelter and evacuation information and phone numbers for North Carolina power companies to report outages.