LENOIR, N.C. — The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Watch on Thursday for Charlotte and the surrounding counties in the Carolinas ahead of likely winter weather this weekend. Emergency crews have been getting ready for what could come before the weather bulletins take effect Saturday night.
At their Lenoir headquarters, Blue Ridge Energy crews are preparing for the worst-case scenario of several inches of snow and major power outages.
"Just got a fresh load of poles delivered today -- lots of fuses down near the warehouse so just sharpening the saws and gassing up the trucks," Fletcher Helms, an apprentice lineman, said. "Just trying to get prepared as best we can. Catch up on our sleep, hopefully, before it hits."
Duke Energy will be bringing in an additional 1,000 linemen from Florida and the Midwest.
"A wintery mix or that wet precipitation is much more likely to cause an outage than will the snow," Logan Kureczka, a Duke Energy spokeswoman, said. "With about six inches of heavy, wet snow or only about a quarter of an inch of ice is what generally will sit on those trees and those tree limbs, and that's usually what will bring down the power lines."
Medic's Charlotte headquarters is also overstaffing this weekend, with paramedics and EMTs ready if needed. In addition to all of Medic's life-saving equipment, Medic is stocking up ambulances with de-icers, ice scrapers, ice melts. They're confident they can handle what’s coming.
"This is not the first snowstorm we’ve had in Mecklenburg County," Nic Howard with Mecklenburg EMS said. "This is nothing. We’ve been more than prepared to respond within our community. This is just a speed bump in the road for us.”
WINTER WEATHER PREP:
WCNC Charlotte Meteorologist KJ Jacobs compiled a comprehensive guide to help you navigate those cold, snowy and sometimes dangerous conditions.
READ MORE: Winter weather preparedness: A how-to guide