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'If you haven't already, now is the time to get prepared' | Cooper signs state of emergency order ahead of winter storm

Cooper's state of emergency will activate state resources to respond and allows for the possibility of federal reimbursement of storm damages.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has signed a state of emergency ahead of a winter storm that's forecast to bring freezing rain, ice, sleet and snow to the Carolinas this weekend. 

“This storm will bring significant impacts from snow, sleet and freezing rain in different parts of the state, with likely power outages and travel disruptions,” Cooper said. “North Carolinians should pay close attention to their local weather forecast over the next few days, and make sure they are personally prepared before Saturday afternoon.”

Gov. Cooper said Duke Energy promised to send 10,000 people to assist in storm response as well as 200 national guard soldiers. 

First Warn Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich says this storm could bring up to 2 inches of accumulating snow to Charlotte, with additional ice and sleet mixing in. Ice accumulation could lead to widespread power outages and dangerous or impassable roads across the Carolinas. 

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Cooper's state of emergency activated state resources to respond to the storm and allows for federal reimbursement if the event qualifies as a disaster. NCDOT crews have been hard at work preparing for the storm, with officials saying they feel confident they can handle whatever Mother Nature brings. 

State crews began treating roads with brine Thursday and expected to complete that work Friday. DOT officials are encouraging everyone to stay home and off the roads if possible. 

If you must travel during bad weather, State Highway Patrol officials remind motorists to reduce speed, leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles and clear all ice or snow from your vehicle before traveling. If you become stranded, pull off the highway, remain in your vehicle and call for help. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you can take shelter.

"Hopefully the forecast will give us a better picture, but we'll be notifying our crews over the weekend and we will be ready to tackle whatever we come up with," Charles Jones, deputy street superintendent for the City of Charlotte, said.

Duke Energy is calling in an additional 1,000 linemen from Florida and the Midwest to assist with expected power outages during the storm. A Duke Energy spokesperson said it only takes about a quarter-inch of ice to bring down power lines. First Warn forecaster Larry Sprinkle said this weekend's storm will bring a significant ice threat to the Charlotte metro as freezing rain and snow mix together Sunday. 

RELATED: Atrium, Novant close COVID testing sites due to winter storm

WINTER WEATHER PREP: 

WCNC Charlotte Meteorologist KJ Jacobs compiled a comprehensive guide to help you navigate those cold, snowy and sometimes dangerous conditions.

RELATED: Winter weather preparedness: A how-to guide

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