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Cumberland County, Fayetteville prepare for winter storm

Below freezing temperatures, sleet, ice and the potential for snow Sunday are on the radar.

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With the forecast Sunday calling for freezing rain, ice and potential snow, city and county officials say they are preparing and monitoring the storm system.

“Cumberland County is currently monitoring this event as it approaches,” Gene Booth, director of Emergency Services for Cumberland County, said Friday. “Currently, the precipitation estimate from the National Weather Service in Raleigh shows elevated impacts, with some possible power outages.”  

Look for “lowering thick clouds with no precipitation Saturday,’’ said Jonathan Blaes of the National Weather Service in Raleigh.

 High temperatures will be in the mid-40s Saturday, and precipitation is expected to begin between 3 and 6 a.m. Sunday. 

“Before daybreak, light precipitations,” Blaes said. “With snow and sleet to change over to freezing rains maybe later for a couple of hours. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ground gets snow and sleet and a decent coating of freezing rain.” 

Blaes said temperatures should be in the upper 20s Sunday morning and above freezing later in the day.  

“Highs may climb to the mid-40s,’’ Blase said, “and cool down on Sunday night to the lower 30s.” 

Fayetteville work crews began preparing Friday, according to a city news release, with Public Services barricading historic trouble areas and applying brine at city-owned bridges and roadways, fire stations and at the Fayetteville Regional Airport. Public Services employees are preparing to work 12-hour shifts in response to emergency calls, the release said.  

There will be no Fayetteville Area System of Transit bus service Sunday, the city said, including FASTTRAC! service.  

“Stay off the roads if you can be at home,” said Scott Bullard, the city Emergency Management coordinator. “Dress for the cold season. Know signs of hypothermia. Check on your loved ones and neighbors.” 

Motorists are urged to drive with caution if conditions deteriorate.  

“Give yourself a few car spaces if you must travel,” said Sgt. Jeremy Glass with the Fayetteville Police Department. “If power is out, treat intersections as four-way stops if an officer is not there to direct traffic. When temperatures drop, don’t leave your car running unattended at home or outside the store. Thieves will see it as a target.” 

PWC work crews are preparing for power outages, according to Carolyn Justice-Hinson, a spokeswoman with the Fayetteville Public Works Commission. Electric and water crews and support staff are on standby, including “our electric/water construction, tree trimming, substation crews, warehouse and fleet operations,” she said. 

 Use caution in the event of a power outage, Booth said.  

“I urge residents to prepare for some power outages,” he said.  

“That means if you utilize a secondary heat source such as a fireplace, gas logs, kerosene or fuel oil, please ensure you have a functioning CO detector. If using a generator, please ensure it is located outside and away from doors and windows. Do not utilize a cooking stove as a heat source.” 

While the city and county prepare for the worst, Booth offers some good news.  

“As temperatures are expected to rise above freezing during the day on Sunday,” Booth said, “this should be a short-lived event.” 

Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961.   

Fayetteville, Cumberland County, PWC, winter storm

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