The area will see harsh weather this weekend, and the Union County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is preparing for it.
According to an email from EMA Director Brad Gilbert, the National Weather Service Office in Wilmington shows rain Friday, then sleet from noon to 3 p.m. After that comes freezing rain until about 8 p.m. followed by snow.
“Snow amounts vary but 6-plus inches is possible with up to a foot,” the email read. “Winds also could reach gusts of up to 30 mph.”
Gilbert’s email noted the forecast is changing hourly, and it would be some time before it’s more finalized.
He said his office is making its standard preparations for ice and major snowfall.
Gilbert said residents should have supplies for at least three days on hand. While people shouldn’t be panicking, they should be prepared. These items could include blankets, road flares and water.
In the event of a level three snow emergency, EMA volunteers will be available to transport essential hospital and long-term care staff who live in Union County.
The Red Cross confirmed it’s ready to provide shelters in the event of a loss of power or stranded motorists. The EMA also has a backup plan with Trinity Lutheran Church if the Red Cross isn’t available.
“Union County EMA staff will be monitoring the incoming weather and will be available over the weekend should anything take place,” the email reads.
Gilbert told the Journal-Tribune residents should be patient. Motorists who must leave the house should allow for more time to get where they’re going during these events. He said to respect the snow levels issued by the sheriff’s office and drivers should keep a safe distance behind snow plows.
One aspect Gilbert said makes ice more difficult to handle is the possibility of power outages. Ice can affect power lines, leading to blackouts. Because of this, Gilbert advised residents should be familiar with whatever forms of backup heat they own. Fireplaces should be inspected, and residents should know how to operate their generators.
“Educate yourself on your alternative heating methods,” he said.
Authorities will update residents on conditions via email. Gilbert also recommended people follow the Union County EMA on social media. He said it’s a good way for locals to stay informed.
“We try to post updates to social media,” he said.
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