North Carolina Ready as Winter Storm Begins Governor declares state of emergency to respond to the storm

Governor holds news conference

Governor Roy Cooper today declared a state of emergency for all eastern and several central North Carolina counties as the state braces for snow and sleet along with bitter cold.

“This storm is expected to bring snow, ice, and strong winds to parts of our state,” said Governor Cooper. “A winter storm combined with bitterly cold temperatures is a dangerous combination that will make travel difficult and could lead to power outages.”

Forecasts call for two to eight inches of snow along the I-95 corridor and east with higher amounts of six to eight inches in areas between Greenville and Elizabeth City. The heaviest snowfall amounts are expected Wednesday night along the Highway 17 corridor. The expected snowfall amounts and high winds have prompted a blizzard warning for the northeastern counties of Camden and Currituck from 4 pm Wednesday until early Thursday afternoon. High winds are also expected in Carteret, Dare, Hyde and Tyrrell counties. Along with the snow, central coastal counties could see as much as a quarter of an inch of ice accumulate along with very strong winds.

The Governor today declared a state of emergency to assist with storm response and recovery. The declaration also triggers state law against charging excessive prices during an emergency. He also issued an executive order waiving truck weight, size and hours of service restrictions to ease movement of supplies and equipment.

Gov. Cooper activated the State Emergency Operations Center this morning to coordinate storm response throughout the impacted areas. Other storm preparations include:

  • NCDOT crews have applied more than two million gallons of salt brine across roadways in 56 counties and have crews and equipment ready to clear ice and snow.
  • State troopers are marking abandoned vehicles along the roadway and are coordinating with local law enforcement to ensure no one is left stranded in these dangerous temperatures.
  • State troopers and transportation crews are working to clear disabled vehicles quickly so they don’t impede traffic.
  • National Guard troops are on standby and prepared to respond as needed.
  • Adverse weather policy is in effect for state employees. State employees should coordinate with their supervisors.

Gov. Cooper reminded citizens to heed the advice of law enforcement officials and emergency responders to ensure everyone’s safety during the storm.

“I encourage people to watch weather forecasts closely and stay off the roads when travel becomes dangerous,” Gov. Cooper said. “Unnecessary travel not only puts you at risk, but it also risks the lives of emergency services and law enforcement officers who respond to help you.”

While the storm itself will move through North Carolina quickly, the extreme cold will linger through the weekend, Gov. Cooper said.

With the combination of snow, intense cold and winds, officials are urging people to take extra precautions when outdoors and when heating their homes. Wear multiple layers of clothing, cover any exposed skin while outside and limit time outdoors. If you must use an alternative heat source, make sure you know how to do so safely. Never run generators or use grills indoors. Get more tips on cold weather safety from the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

Real-time weather and road conditions and shelter openings, as well as winter safety tips, can be found on the free ReadyNC mobile app or online at

Travelers are urged to go to for up to date roadway conditions. Motorists are reminded NOT to call 911 or the State Highway Patrol Communication Centers for roadway conditions.

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