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Widespread power outages expected across NC due to winter storm

Significant winter impacts are expected for the central and eastern regions of the state.

NORTH CAROLINA, USA — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has signed a state of emergency ahead of a second winter storm expected to move through the state this week.  

Unlike last weekend's storm, this system is expected to have significant impacts in eastern North Carolina, where heavy snow and up to a half-inch of ice are possible through Sunday. Cooper said Thursday that state officials expected widespread power outages in areas like Wilmington, Jacksonville and New Bern. 

“It is a familiar forecast but in a different place,” Cooper said. “While we know the forecast has changed in the past few hours and may continue to change, now is the time to get ready if you’re in the forecast zone. Before tonight, get groceries and essentials you’ll need the next few days and be prepared in case the power goes out.”

Cooper said 114 National Guard troops will be activated to help impacted areas.

Charlotte's chances of seeing snow are dwindling with this system, as the low-pressure setup has shifted offshore. Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich said Charlotte could see up to 1 inch of snow. Behind Friday's snow will be brutally cold air and a chance for the coldest afternoon high in over four years. That cold air will increase the chances of black ice after Thursday's rain. 

"In the Charlotte area, even though it doesn't look like much, roads will be wet at 7 p.m.," Panovich said. "With temperatures dropping quickly, if there's a little flurry or anything on the backside, it's going to cause black ice tomorrow (Friday) morning."

Crews started treating roads in several North Carolina counties Thursday night ahead of the impacts. A North Carolina Department of Transportation spokesperson told WCNC Charlotte that crews first treated hotspots like bridges, overpasses and elevated surfaces before moving to main interstates. 

RELATED: FORECAST: Scattered rain arrives Thursday, next chance for snow Friday

To prepare for this storm and possible power outages, North Carolina Emergency Management advises people to:

  • Get the groceries and essentials you need before Thursday evening. Travel will become hazardous in many parts of eastern North Carolina after that.
  • Keep cell phones, mobile devices and spare batteries charged in case your power goes out
  • Keep fresh batteries on hand for weather radios and flashlights.
  • Dress warmly. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
  • Properly vent kerosene heaters and ensure generators are operated outside and away from open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors or use a gas grill indoors.
  • Use a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio or a weather alert app on your phone to receive emergency weather alerts.
  • Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first-aid kit and road map.
  • Gather emergency supplies for your pet including leash and feeding supplies, enough food and for several days and pet travel carrier.
  • Do not leave pets outside for long periods of time during freezing weather.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster also issued a state of emergency on Wednesday due to the expected impact of storms. 

RELATED: SC governor declares new state of emergency for winter storm on Friday

"South Carolina is expected to experience winter storm weather again this week. Those in potentially impacted areas should begin safety preparations now. Please check your local forecasts and stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary once the storm begins," Gov. McMaster posted on Twitter. 

The WCNC Charlotte viewing area is taking necessary precautions ahead of the wintery weather expected for the region.