CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A major winter storm will blanket the Carolinas with freezing rain, sleet, snow and ice this weekend but we still aren't sure how much will fall and which areas will be hit hardest.
The storm will cause headaches on the roads, and officials are asking everyone to stay home if possible. Especially after what happened in Virginia a week ago, when hundreds of people were stuck in the vehicles on Interstate 95 for hours after heavy snow blocked the roads.
WCNC Charlotte's VERIFY team has received questions asking if that could happen in Charlotte and if the city is prepared for the storm.
Is Charlotte prepared for heavy snow?
Yes, the City of Charlotte is prepared for heavy snow, as it’s defined by the National Weather Service.
WHAT WE FOUND
In a facility along Northpoint Industrial Boulevard in northwest Charlotte, you'll find 36 plows, salt and equipment to make brine for the city.
"The City of Charlotte maintains more than 5,200 lane miles of road," Jones said.
Jones, the deputy street superintendent for Charlotte, says his crews will treat more than half of those roads under various snow scenarios, including this weekend's storm. He said the goal is to get ahead of what's to come.
"We will actually be producing salt brine, which is saltwater and we will have crews go out and treat around 1,200 lane miles of roads with the salt brine solution," Jones said.
As they prep roads ahead of a possible storm, is the city prepared if we get heavy snow? According to the National Weather Service, heavy snow is defined as snowfall accumulating to 4 inches or more in 12 hours or less, or snowfall accumulating to 6 inches more in 24 hours or less, something Jones says they're ready for.
"What we have seen is anywhere from just rain up to 7 inches of snow, we are pretty much prepared for that and anything in between," Jones explained. "If the forecast is five-to-six inches of snow, then we will have all of the staff plowing and salting for 24 to 36 hours."
Crews are already prepping the roads and Jones said they'll be on standby this weekend.
"Over the weekend, we will wait to see when they come in," Jones said. "We tend to operate on a 12-hour shift. If the storm is going to come in say, at 3 in the morning, we may bring them in at midnight and let them work."
"If the storm is going to come in say, 3 in the morning, we may bring them in at midnight and let them work," Jones said.
Jones has a few reminders for people if they see trucks out on the road before the storm. First, give them lots of room and be patient, but the best thing you can do to help road crews keep things clear is to simply stay home.
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