Wintry blast takes aim at county
Snow began falling Tuesday and more is expected over the Monroe and Union County area Wednesday.
On Tuesday, a light snowfall was expected with about 1-inch to 2-inches of snow falling.
On Wednesday, two-four inches is expected, according to Dave Samuhel, a meteorologist with Accuweather.com.
"It will be snow that changes to ice," Samuhel said.
In addition to the snowfall, major freezing rain is expected afterwards. By Friday, temperatures will still be low and likely freezing by that afternoon, he said.
According to a statement from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), crews were out pretreating roads with brine (a salt-water mix) on Monday ahead of the predicted snow and ice in the state to help ensure that travel conditions on roads were as safe as possible. The organization reminds residents of the dangers of fallen trees and power lines, which are possible during the winter weather. NCDOT crews are planned to work with the power companies to remove trees and lines as needed. In the Charlotte area, which includes both Mecklenburg and Union counties, crews began Sunday brining all bare pavements and completed pre-icing operations. Crews were on standby to reapply the mixture if needed and were preparing trucks to plow and sand once the winter weather arrived.
According to another NCDOT statement, the organization has a set snow and ice removal process in which it first plows bare pavement routes, which includes interstates, four-lane divided highways and other routes essential for moving traffic. Afterwards they turn to secondary roads/streets and neighborhoods. The order of which roads they address first is determined by connectivity, traffic volume, amount of use, major business avenues and trucking routes, and the importance to hospitals and other emergency routes.
In addition to NCDOT crews preparing for possible winter weather effects, members of the North Carolina Electric Cooperative were also preparing themselves in case of power outages and other concerns caused by the winter weather.
According to a N.C. Electric Cooperative statement, freezing rain is the greatest concern since ice-laden branches can fall on power lines and can be a major cause of power outages during winter storms. Electric cooperative members are asked to call their cooperative directly if they experience a disruption in power. For phone numbers to report outages and the counties served by the co-op refer to www.ncelectriccooperatives.com.
Union County, NC contacts for power outages and other issues:
Union Power: 1-800-794-4423
Duke Energy: English-1-800-POWERON (1-800-769-3766), Spanish- 1-866-4APAGON (1-866-427-2466).
Pee Dee EMC 1-800-693-0190
Contacts for transportation and road concerns:
North Carolina Highway Patrol: *HP (*47)
North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT): www.ncdot.gov/travel or www.ncdot.gov/travel/twitter