While the state transportation department is already out salting roads, utility companies are closely monitoring the weather forecast today.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Ryan Ellis said light snow is likely this afternoon, getting heavy tomorrow into Thursday. By tomorrow afternoon, he said, ice will coat much of the state.
Jane Pritchard is a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives. She said it would take a heavy snowfall to mess with power lines, but just a half-inch of ice can do a lot of damage.
“When the ice builds up, not only on the power lines, but on tree branches, it causes them to droop and break and fall on lines,” explained Pritchard. “That can cause power outages.”
Jeff Brooks of Duke Energy said icy roads are also a problem for power companies, because motorists often slide off the road and hit utilities poles, which also causes outages. Brooks said Duke Energy is putting crews on alert.
“If you see our crews working along the sides of the roads, please slow down and take every effort you can to be safe around them. They're trying to get your power back on,” Brooks said. “They're working hard, and we need you to make sure they're safe as well.”
Brooks recommended charging your cell phone and having a backup plan in case your power does go out.
Governor Pat McCrory urged everyone in a news conference today to have an alternate heating plan, in case of a power outage. He said people should wear layers, have flashlights on hand, and check in on neighbors.