Chatham County urges Preparations for Wintry Weather & Revises Office Hours
Wednesday afternoon through Thursday, Chatham County is expected to be hit by varying amounts of snow, sleet and freezing rain. As of Wednesday, forecasts call for the eastern half of the county to be more impacted by ice, but power outages are possible throughout the entire county. All areas will experience dangerous roads.
“Residents and businesses should do what they can to be prepared and stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary,” said County Manager Charlie Horne. “Governor McCrory has already declared a State of Emergency because this is a dangerous weather system coming our way very soon.”
Chatham County sent some employees home at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, but key staff and emergency personnel will remain on duty. County offices will have a delayed opening at 9 a.m. Thursday. Any further changes in the county office hours or services will be announced as needed.
Residents should make sure that they have a supply of medications, food and heating fuel on hand by this afternoon. Now is the time to store up extra drinking water and ice cubes in the event of a power failure. De-icing fluid or rock salt will come in handy to clear porches and sidewalks of ice.
Remember that some portable indoor heaters need plenty of ventilation and can be a fire hazard.
At this time, Chatham County has not opened any shelters, but the county has facilities and staff on standby if needed.
“We likely will not know the impact and need for emergency shelters until the early hours Thursday,” Horne said.
Residents should not call 911 to report power outages as these likely will occur across the county and usually do not create an immediate hazard. Duke Power already will be tracking areas without power and will send crews as they can. However, widespread outages will occur across the state, so expect outages to last for up to several days.
Residents also should not call 911 to report storm damage and trees down on their private property. However, residents should report major blockages of public roadways and dangerous power lines on the road by calling 911.
The non-emergency number to call if you have questions about the county’s weather response, such as updates on shelters, is 919-545-8163.
Emergency Management Director Tony Tucker said, “We need to reserve 911 for the usual emergency issues, such as fires, health emergencies, gas leaks and other serious personal and public safety issues. It will be a very busy time for our dispatchers and emergency responders.”