Winter Weather and Ice Storms
Snow and ice coverage on an Emergency Management vehicle in 2017
Mecklenburg County residents are encouraged to practice the following 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. Make sure to turn off alternative heating sources when leaving the home.
- Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep any electric generators OUTSIDE and away from any open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, do not burn charcoal indoors. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result from charcoal fumes indoors.
- Keep fresh batteries on hand to use with flashlights and weather radios.
- Always keep at least a three (3) - day supply of non-perishable food in your home.
- If your pipes are vulnerable to freezing, i.e., they run through an unheated or unprotected space, consider keeping your faucet at a slow drip when extremely cold temperatures are predicted.
- Keep a supply of candles available in the event of a power outage. Make sure to keep candles away from flammable objects, such as curtains, and out of the reach of children.
- Wear multiple layers of think clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing to stay warm. You will be warmer and, as the temperature changes, you can easily remove layers to remain comfortable.
- 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.
It is important that all citizens monitor changing weather conditions by listening carefully to their National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio, local radio, and television stations for storm watches or warnings. When winter weather warnings are issued, the public should be prepared for possible power outages or roads made impassable by snow or ice. When in doubt call 9-1-1 and ask for the Fire Department.
If power outages are reported during times of sustained cold temperatures, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office (CMEMO), in conjunction with the American Red Cross, will open a warming station or shelter. If a shelter is opened notifications will be made on local radio and television stations, via CharMeck Alerts, and on the CMEMO website.