North Carolina Sea Grant
Coastwatch Currents

Coastwatch Currents

February 16, 2016 | Rebecca Nagy

 By ASHLEY CHAFIN

Posted Feb. 16, 2016

Ashley Chafin is a sophomore at NC State University. She is a communications intern with North Carolina Sea Grant.

winter storm jonas

Winter Storm Jonas

Some would say this week has been somewhat easy compared to what North Carolina experienced a few weeks ago with Winter Storm Jonas.

Here in the Triangle, bitter cold and wind chills in the teens were present Saturday, through the overnight and into Valentine’s Day. The sleet and freezing rain that arrived later that night and into Monday, Presidents’ Day, had turned to all rain by that afternoon. The weather eventually morphed into hazardous thunderstorms early this morning that moved out quickly leaving behind temperatures in the mid 60s. There was even a coastal tornado warning this morning.

You can never be too ready for any type of weather-related adventure!

When ice and sleet covered the Triangle this time, I was prepared. Although this storm did not bring the chaos and havoc of Jonas, it still was a reminder to be prepared in case of an emergency.

When preparing for winter weather, a charged laptop and/or phone could be your only connection to the outside world. When power outages strike, folks can be disconnected for days — relying only on the people with whom they live.

I learned this the hard way when Jonas took its toll on my apartment’s power. A tree limb fell on the central power line that provided electricity — and ultimately warmth — to the whole complex. The line took time to fix, so we were without power for almost three days.

Map of NC ice and rain for Feb. 15

Photo by NWS Raleigh

My roommates and I were stuck in our tiny apartment, as roads were too icy for travel. Roasting hot dogs and marshmallows were our main dining options. We even invented new mind games to pass the time. We were not prepared to face the cold — let alone adapt to a life that didn’t revolve around technology.

Necessary items for snow and ice, or other weather-related emergencies, include:

To play it safe, download the free ReadyNC app — a wonderful smartphone application that provides information about the roads and upcoming weather. The N.C. Department of Public Safety runs ReadyNC. Check it out before venturing out in the cold.

However, an app is only helpful when all of your electronics are charged.

ready NC logoWhen Jonas hit, I was looking forward to the inevitable class cancellations. But, what I did not expect was to have to eat all of the food in our powerless refrigerator. I had no clue what to do with the frozen chicken and the countless frozen pizzas, but my roommates and I stuffed our faces with hummus, cheese and guacamole — everything that we knew would go bad if we did not eat it right away.

Living on my own for the first time, I did not understand all the home issues that come with a snowstorm. It is important for college students and all residents to understand the difficulties that snow and ice can bring.

In the future, be prepared and stay safe.

For more information, visit ReadyNC.com.

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