11:30 a.m.: Winter weather begins to deteriorate, Jacksonville Mall closed
The National Weather Service is still reporting ice amounts up to a quarter inch for Jacksonville and Onslow County from Friday night through Saturday morning, amounts that could be historic and unprecedented for Onslow.
“Temperatures are around 30 in Jacksonville and they’re not going to rise from there,” NWS meteorologist Erik Heden said, “so they’re just going to either hold steady or drop slowly.”
Heden said they are starting to see reports of freezing rain, which clings to elevated surfaces like cars and bridges, but soon bridges and major roads will start to freeze.
Temperatures are expected to drop rapidly into the 20s from sunset as conditions worsen overnight, according to Heden.
The NWS also said to expect winds of 20 to 25 mph, which will increase icing and power outages.
Jacksonville Public Safety reported at 11:13 a.m. that roads were still good and passable, with weather in the city at 29 degrees with a light drizzle. No weather-related accidents were reported.
Additionally, Jacksonville Mall Senior Director of Marketing Mikia Ross announced that the mall will be closed today due to weather.
10 a.m.: Try not to drive, but if you have to, here’s how to do it safely
The North Carolina Department of Transportation has crews ready to clear the roads, but driving in this winter storm is still dangerous and not recommended.
According to the NCDOT, there are precautions you should take before you even get into your vehicle.
These include making sure your vehicle is running smoothly and is properly equipped to drive on dangerous roads, which also means having at least a half tank of gas in your vehicle, regardless of the duration of your journey. They also suggest keeping a supply kit handy that includes an ice scraper, snow brush, windshield washer fluid, antifreeze, and a basic automotive tool kit with jumper cables and flares.
It is also good to have a flashlight, first aid kit, blanket, shovel, sand, non-perishable snacks and drinking water.
When driving, the NCDOT urges drivers to slow down and maintain a safe distance, as well as overtaking with extreme caution. They said excessive speed is the #1 cause of winter wrecks.
It is recommended not to use cruise control, not to brake on a bridge, and to treat intersections where traffic lights are off as a four-way stop.
“The most important thing is for everyone to limit travel to only essential trips until weather and road conditions improve,” said Anthony Prinz, Jacksonville’s director of transportation services. “If you must be on the roads, please reduce speed and increase following distance.”
Black ice is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to winter road conditions.
The NCDOT says don’t panic if you start to slide, but avoid using the brakes if possible and steer gently in the direction of the slide.
The Jacksonville city government released this morning that a good thing to do, even if you’re not driving, is to lower your windshield wipers to keep them from freezing.
Ultimately, the best option is to avoid the roads altogether until conditions improve.
9 a.m.: Staying Warm During a Power Outage: Safety Tips
In the event of a power outage, which is likely for Onslow County during this winter storm, there are plenty of ways to warm up. Here are some of those ways and tips to keep your family and home safe during this unusual winter weather.
Onslow County Emergency Medical Services Director Norman Bryson said one of the most important things is to make sure you have enough blankets. He said if you have other alternative heating means such as fireplaces, they really must have been properly inspected long before.
Bryson said Saturday they expect it to be above freezing around lunchtime, but not much above freezing.
“A lot of it is going to be going down to one room, closing most of these doors, putting blankets on, and trying to keep everyone warm,” Bryson said.
The Jacksonville government website shares winter safety tips courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the National Weather Service, and states that if the power is out, bundle up in loose layers and close blinds and curtains. They also advise against heating your home with your stove or oven.
“By all means, be sure to contact your power company to let them know it’s over,” Bryson said. Don’t just assume they know, don’t just assume other people in the community let them know, because it might not be that widespread and they need to know exactly which houses are off. “
Bryson also stressed the need to be careful with secondary heating sources.
“Some generators have to be careful when trying to feed the electricity back into your home,” Bryson said, “because backfeeding without a transfer switch actually allows that electricity to flow back down the power lines and can be dangerous to people. workers on power lines.”
He also said to make sure all heaters and kerosene heaters are kept 36 inches from all combustible materials.
“Because of the amount of heat that comes out of it,” Bryson said, “if you have blankets, towels, or even furniture very close together, these forms of heat can cause materials to burn.
He urged parents not to allow their children to play around radiators and also said not to put blankets over radiators to try to get all the heat in a small area because these blankets can burn.
With kerosene heaters, Bryson said to make sure not to fill them up while they’re still running. Turn them off, take them outside, let them cool, then fill them up again.
“If you fill them up and spill kerosene while you’re trying to fill them up inside the house, you can have a fire from that, and we’ve seen multiple injuries every year from that,” Bryson said. .
Charcoal grills should also not be used indoors or under the house, as this can lead to carbon monoxide entering the house.
– Morgan Starling
8 a.m.: Onslow residents brace for winter storm and clean up stores
With the winter storm expected to last through the weekend, many Onslow residents flocked to grocery stores and gas stations before the cold weather hit.
Food Lion on Wilmington Highway said they were extremely busy yesterday, busier than if there was an upcoming hurricane, and their shelves look pretty empty.
Richlands Highway Piggly Wiggly in Jacksonville also had a busy day yesterday.
“At the moment our shelves are in pretty good shape in some places,” said store manager Ian Dyne. “We have a fairly good sized truck that will be here at some point this morning, so this afternoon we should be about as close to normal as we can get.”
Many Onslow residents took to Facebook about the chaos, sharing where shortages were being seen, a resident yesterday sharing that regular unleaded gasoline was out of stock at Swansboro Walmart, and others sharing photos of empty shelves in stores.
Some were also on the lookout for kerosene heaters as they prepared for possible power outages.
Although authorities are urging Onslow County residents to stay off the roads this weekend, this morning may be your best bet if you have to get out, as conditions are expected to worsen in the evening.
– Morgan Starling
7 a.m.: Jacksonville sees the first signs of wintry weather
Jacksonville is starting to see the bright effects of the winter storm this morning, with temperatures already below freezing and light precipitation.
National Weather Service meteorologist Erik Heden said for most of the day it will be very light, with a wintry mix that could include some sleet and freezing rain.
“It’s tonight, and tonight,” Heden said. “That’s when we expect periods of heavier freezing rain, and that’s when we think there will be significant icing. We are really trying to get that message across, because nothing has changed with the forecast. We’re worried people will wake up and say ‘where’s the storm’ and I make the analogy, like in football, we’re in the first quarter of the game.”
Heden said they’re still throwing up to half an inch of ice, which has them worried about power outages, especially throughout the weekend when it’s going to be cold.
“Unlike a hurricane when you lose power,” Heden said, “it’s uncomfortable without air, but it’s not life-threatening. But there could be life-threatening issues throughout the weekend.”
Onslow County schools closed for the day, as well as Jacksonville city offices.
A City of Jacksonville news release said Jacksonville Public Safety will be at full strength to respond to emergencies, but Police Chief Mike Yaniero is urging people to stay off the roads.
The release also said Jacksonville Sanitation will operate as normal weather permitting, and that Jacksonville Public Services utility crews will also be working.
However, Jacksonville Transit and all recreational facilities will be closed.
Nearly 800 of their employees and contract crews are working or preparing to treat roads for the storm, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. They also have over 300 trucks and graders ready to work on the roads throughout the weekend.
“By early Thursday afternoon, crews had applied nearly one million gallons of brine in central and eastern North Carolina and restocked stockpiles of salt and sand to treat roads. after the onset of snow and freezing rain,” the statement said.
– Morgan Starling