Log in Newsletter

City, county prepare for winter weather

The possibility of freezing rain and snow prompts closings, cancellations and delays for some municipal services.


City and county officials are bracing for a bout of frigid winter weather over the next couple of days.

Snow, sleet and freezing rain are in the forecast, according to the National Weather Service.

Fayetteville and surrounding areas are under a winter weather watch through Saturday morning, the city said in a news release.

The possibility of inclement weather prompted Fayetteville, Hope Mills and Cumberland County to close their offices Friday. Cumberland County Schools and Fayetteville Technical Community College announced they are moving to remote learning Friday.

Two shelters will be open for people who need to get out of the cold. Cumberland County opened Smith Recreation Center, at 1520 Slater Ave., Thursday afternoon. It is expected to remain open until noon Sunday. The Salvation Army shelter at 245 Alexander St. is also open.

Nick Pepro, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh, said rain was expected to continue to fall in Fayetteville through 9 p.m. or midnight Thursday. After that, residents will start to see a little sleet mixing in with the rain. That will not create a problem, he said.

“It’s going to cool down into the 20s overnight. Tomorrow, you’ll wake up and nothing is falling from the sky,” he said of Friday. “But another batch of snow or sleet is supposed to come up from the south. A little sleet and a little snow will be patchy at times after that.

“Tomorrow evening is the time you’ll see the greatest amount over Fayetteville – could be an inch of snow. Probably not much more than that. There may be a tiny glaze of freezing rain in the trees.’’

Pepro said the storm is expected to move out Saturday morning.

After that, he said: “It’s a matter of having cold temperatures over the next few days and black ice concerns.”

During a news conference Thursday afternoon at the Street Maintenance building on Alexander Street, representatives from several Fayetteville city departments discussed how they are preparing for the storm. 

City spokeswoman Nacarla Webb said essential city staff will work per department protocol; nonessential staff should work remotely.

Webb said the city will continue to serve its residents with public safety and critical services while some events, activities and programs may be adjusted.

“The one thing you can do is stay off the roads please, if possible,” Webb emphasized. “Black ice could be present on roadways overnight and into Friday morning. Don’t make unnecessary trips.”

Fayetteville Public Services crews concurred – stay off the roads.

Teams can work faster to clear snow and ice when traffic is at a minimum, the release said.

On Wednesday, the Public Services team had prepared salt trucks and applied brine to city roads. Barricades will be in place at the typical trouble spots.

Eight plows and spreaders are prepared to react to the storm, said Lee Jernigan, the assistant Public Services director.

“As you can see behind us, we are staged up with equipment prepared to react to whatever precipitation we receive during the storm,” Jernigan said during the news conference. “We have completed advance preparation by putting brine on all our city-owned roadways, major thoroughfares, as well as our city-owned bridges, our fire stations and airport and transit facility. We will have crews staffed 24/7 beginning in the morning and through when we need to demobilize as part of a storm event.”

Jernigan said the city will be in communication with the state Department of Transportation in case any additional assistance is needed.

“If there are any issues that the public realizes, concerns they have, we’re advising them to contact 911 and through that dispatch mechanism our crews will be responding.”

State transportation crews were also busy ahead of the storm applying brine and getting salt ready to address issues with roads.

Fayetteville Regional Airport will monitor forecasts and release updates as weather conditions progress, the city said. Travelers are encouraged to contact their airlines directly for updates on flight cancellations and/or delays.


Two shelters opened Thursday for people who need to get in from the cold.

The Salvation Army will open for White Flag nights and serve as a daytime shelter from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

White Flag nights are when a shelter lets homeless individuals inside to give them a place to stay when the weather is 32 degrees or lower or in the event of inclement weather.

The Smith Recreation Center opened at 4 p.m. Thursday. Meals will be provided, but pets will not be allowed. The county said in a news release it was unable to house pets at the shelter because of a lack of staff due to COVID-19 and position vacancies.

COVID -19 screenings will be done, and isolation and quarantine areas will be available for people who either test positive or who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, the county release said. Those who go to the shelter will be required to practice social distancing, wear a face mask and adhere to Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines.

Transportation and solid waste

Tyffany Neal, the assistant transit director for the Fayetteville Area System of Transit, said FAST-track services will be suspended Friday.

“We are planning to resume service on Saturday at noon,'' Neal said. "This, of course, will depend on current weather conditions at that time. We do plan to restart our services earlier if conditions improve.”

On any given day, Neal said, the FAST transportation system serves more than 1,000 riders.

Fire Chief T.J. McLamb said his department is always in a state of emergency response. He said they are bringing on additional staff to help.

He provided some safety tips, noting there’s always the possibility for power interruptions during freezing weather.

If using a heating device – such as a kerosene heater – he advised allowing a three-foot clearance all the way around it. If using a generator, he said to keep it outside.

Daniel Edwards, Public Services assistant director over solid waste services, said all those services are canceled Friday. Friday’s collection services will be shifted to Monday, Monday’s collections will move to Tuesday, and Tuesday’s collections will take place on Wednesday.

“That will bring us back to the normal cycle of solid waste collections,” he said.

Residents whose recyclables are collected on Friday are asked to put those containers out Sunday so items can be collected during the week.

“All of this is because of the storm and Saturday may be too icy for the trucks out there. Too much weight,” Edwards said. “Just a safety precaution for everybody.”

Glenn Adams, chairman of the county Board of Commissioners, encouraged residents to take steps ahead of the storm.

“Residents need to prepare for severe weather by making sure electronic devices such as phones and tablets are charged, know where your emergency kit is located and continue to monitor the weather,’’ Adams said in a news release. “Over the next few days, I recommend people stay indoors and off roadways if possible.’’

Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.

Fayetteville, Cumberland County, winter storm, snow, sleet, freezing rain, closings, cancellations, schools