A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for eastern North Carolina ahead of an approaching cold front and low-pressure system that will begin impacting our area on Thursday. While the forecast could change, New Bern is expected to see significant impacts from this storm starting with rain that will change over to frozen precipitation Thursday evening. Freezing rain and possibly several inches of snow are expected on Friday.
This wintry weather forecast could make for hazardous driving conditions, especially as temperatures hover around freezing Friday and into the weekend. Power outages, down trees and other damages are expected as the storm moves through eastern North Carolina.
As conditions deteriorate, the City is encouraging motorists to stay safe and stay off the roads if possible. If travel is required, use extreme caution. Now is the time to prepare your home and stock winter essentials. Cover outdoor spigots, close crawl space vents and storm windows, disconnect and drain all outdoor hoses, and consider letting one of your indoor faucets drip overnight during prolonged freezing temperatures. Restock your emergency preparedness kit with survival supplies for the whole family including food, water, medications, batteries, a weather radio, cellphone charger, flashlight, windshield scraper, and extra coats, hats, blankets, and gloves.
Public Works crews started this morning spraying the City’s main roads with a brine solution to pre-treat roadway surfaces ahead of the storm. They will spread salt and sand on bridges. Staff have prepped and fueled vehicles and snow removal equipment. If snow removal is necessary, crews will focus on major routes first. Side streets will be a secondary priority. Additional staff have been scheduled to work overnight Thursday and into the weekend.
Crews are also preparing city facilities with distributions of salt, sand, and anti-slip materials, testing and fueling generators, and taking precautions to protect the City’s infrastructure. The City’s Emergency Operations Center on Highway 55 is operational and ready in case mobilization is needed for coordinated response to winter weather.
Department of Public Utilities staffs are staged and ready to respond to power outages and other damages due to the cold and icy conditions. Electric distribution systems are being adjusted to handle increased demand. Mutual aid crews have been identified and reserved in the event extra help is needed to respond to outages and damage. If you lose power, report it by calling (252)636-4070. The City’s “Report a Problem” feature is another way to contact us in the event of water/sewer problems and non-emergency issues. This online portal is located at www.newbernnc.gov/reportaproblem.
In addition to public works and utilities staffs, our fire and police departments are prepping and fueling vehicles and have assigned additional staff to respond to traffic and other emergencies that may arise. New Bern Fire-Rescue strongly urges residents to check their space heaters – make sure you’re using them safely. Place heaters on low, flat surfaces at least 3 feet away from flammable items. Do not leave a space heater running unattended, especially for long periods of time. Don’t leave a space heater running overnight and unplug it after each use. For your safety and that of your family, friends, and pets, keep space heaters out of high-traffic areas or doorways and don’t plug them into extension cords or power strips.
Residents and visitors are encouraged to follow the City on social media, on Facebook @cityofnb and on Instagram @cityofnewbern for storm updates. We will also post information to City 3 TV for Suddenlink cable subscribers. And, if necessary, we will use our emergency notification system, CodeRED, to alert subscribers to emergencies within our community either through text messaging, emails, or phone calls. Sign up for CodeRED alerts at www.newbernnc.gov/codered.
Submitted by Colleen Roberts, Public Information Officer