Winter Storm on the Way; NWS Warns Residents to Prepare For Power Outages, Hazardous Road Conditions

Jan 27, 2014

Most people have heard about the serious winter storm making its way to the Cape Fear region.  But what many people may not know: 

preparing for this storm is very similar to preparing for a tropical storm or hurricane. 

The ground will still have some residual warmth when the precipitation starts before dawn on Tuesday, and so meteorologists expect no initial accumulation.  But by the afternoon, Michael Ross with the National Weather Service says travel conditions will be dangerous. 

“As we get into the day and ice starts to accumulate on the roads and roads become more ice-covered and snow-covered, travel will become a little more dangerous.  And of course, bridges will become very icy and extremely hazardous.” 

It’s not just the roads that will see an accumulation of heavy ice.  Power lines, says Ross, are at serious risk – and so people should be prepared for power outages. 

“Make sure you have some blankets. Maybe try to find an alternative source of heat.  Make sure you’ve got plenty of foods that you can eat – which includes foods that you don’t have to cook.” 

Ross says his number one piece of advice during this winter storm:  don’t travel.    If you do hit the road, bring a winter emergency kit with you.  That would include a full tank of gas, a supplemental supply of gas, blankets, gloves, additional layers of clothing, a flashlight with extra batteries, food, and water. 

Check on elderly neighbors, make sure pets are inside, and stock up on prescription medication before the storm. 

From the government of Horry County, SC: 

Those unaccustomed to dealing with life-threatening aspects of severe cold should remember to keep exposure to cold weather to a minimum. Frostbite is harmful and painful. Hypothermia, or low body temperature, can be lethal, and it is particularly hard on infants and the elderly. When the weather turns cold, don't go outdoors unless you have to. If you must go out, dress in layers and cover your ears, head and hands. Remember, high wind speeds dramatically increase the effects of cold temperatures by increasing the "wind chill factor."

·         Stock up on heating fuel and prepare emergency heating sources, such as fireplaces, wood stoves and space heaters. (WARNING: Never burn charcoal briquettes indoors.)

·         Remember the usual emergency supplies: a flashlight and batteries, a battery-powered radio, extra non-perishable food and water, extra medicines and baby items, and first-aid supplies.

·         Prepare a place indoors for pets. Move farm animals to shelters and have extra feed and water available.

·         Be aware of possible carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire if using alternative sources for electricity, heating or cooking.

For the latest storm forecast information, follow this link:

WWAY TV3:  Winter Storm Warning Starts at 5 AM Tuesday

Take care of your pipes and prevent them from freezing and bursting:

courtesy:  Cape Fear Public Utility Authority

As the region prepares for another winter storm, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is offering reminders on how to prevent pipes from freezing.

The expansion of frozen water can put tremendous stress on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes.  Usually the pipes that freeze are exposed to severe cold weather, like outdoor hose bibs or water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like garages or kitchen cabinets. 

Remember to:   

·         Tightly close doors and windows to the outside.

·         Insulate pipes in unheated or drafty areas. Hardware and plumbing supply stores carry insulation to keep pipes from freezing.

·         To prevent your pipes from freezing, allow a faucet to drip cold water slowly. The faucet you choose should be the one that is the greatest distance from your main water shut off valve.  It does NOT need to be a running trickle.

CFPUA officials say they’ve heard concerns about the cost of letting the faucet drip.  But the uniform rate for water usage amounts to just over .3 cents a gallon (three-tenths of a cent).  A moderate drip equaling one drip every two seconds results in just under one gallon of additional water usage per day.

·         Shut off and drain the pipes leading to your outside faucets so no water is left to freeze, expand and cause a leak in these lines.

·         Close the inside valves and drain the pipes leading to your outside hose bib (faucet).

·         Know where your main shut off valve is and label it.  Minimize the potential for water damage by ensuring that everyone in the household knows how to shut off the water in case of an emergency. 

·         Open the cabinets beneath any place with a water supply, such as the kitchen and bathroom sinks. This will allow warm air to circulate.

If you turn on a faucet and only have a trickle of water coming out or no water at all and it has been very cold for a period of time, suspect a frozen pipe or meter and take these steps:

·         Identify whether the problem is throughout the house or in one area.  If it’s only in one area of your household, you may be able to thaw the pipe by opening the cabinets and allowing the warmer air to circulate around the pipes.

·         NEVER thaw a pipe with an open flame. You can use a hair dryer on low or a portable heater.  Avoid using electrical appliances if there is standing water.

·         Use warm water to soak towels then wrap the towels around the frozen pipes.

·         If the problem persists, contact a licensed plumber for additional guidance.