The storm is set to sink into the lower Mississippi Valley region by Friday night, then meander on Saturday across the Southeast before turning north Sunday and Monday along the East Coast.
Here’s how some state leaders along their way are preparing for the winter blast:
During a media briefing Friday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said the state is deploying resources to protect residents from bad weather and, if necessary, to help neighboring states as well.
Kemp urged Georgians to be “weather-aware” this weekend, adding, “You can help us reduce risks, reduce recovery time and most importantly keep everyone safe.”
Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurray said Friday that pre-treatment for the roads began Friday morning and will take about 18 hours. The highways will be treated duplicitously.
When pretreatment stops, plowing and spreading of salt and gravel will begin. McMurray said nearly 19,500 miles of road must be treated and plowed.
A day earlier, he warned the state to expect trees, limbs and power lines to fall, and urged motorists to “take this storm seriously and stay off the roads.”
“There is still a great deal of uncertainty about the level of this storm, but it is clear that we will see a significant weather event in some parts of Georgia over the weekend,” said James Stallings, director of Georgia Emergency Management. and the Homeland Security Agency.
In the statement, Transportation Secretary Christie Hall said residents were urged to stay off the roads to allow crews to work safely. “The safest solution is for drivers to stay off the roads if possible,” Hall said. “If you have to drive, slow down and watch crews doing snow removal and plowing.”
The state Department of Transportation said Friday that a labor shortage in North Carolina portends longer response times to clear roads as the winter storm approaches.
“This storm will bring significant effects of snow, freezing rain and sleet in various parts of the state, with potential power outages and travel disruptions,” Cooper said in a statement.
“North Carolina residents should pay close attention to the local weather forecast for the next few days, and make sure they are prepared in person before noon Saturday.”
“Declaring a state of emergency now allows emergency responders to prepare and move supplies and equipment to where they expect to be most needed,” he said. “This gives Governor-elect Yongkin the ability to respond to any storm that needs it quickly.”
“I urge the people of Virginia to take this storm seriously and make preparations now.”
Virginia transportation officials said they are assigning more than 100 snow shovels and other pieces of heavy equipment to a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 95 ahead of this weekend’s storm.
“We want to implement and make sure that travel continues throughout the region,” Kelly Hannon, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation, told CNN.
Some of the trucks will focus on specific intersections in three counties in Northern Virginia, including Fredericksburg, Hannon said.
The state Department of Transportation will also use six heavy-duty wrecker tow trucks that can remove tractor trailers from the highway. Hannon added that more than a dozen department staff will drive on the highway to monitor and report any deteriorating conditions.
Hannon said the department is urging drivers not to travel on Sunday, as the agency expects the storm to be a mixed event of snow and freezing rain.
In the statement, its director, GE McCabe, said the state’s Emergency Management Agency is “monitoring for any events that may threaten the citizens of West Virginia, including severe weather threats. We are prepared at all times to respond in the event of an emergency.” .
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont directed his state to a “cold-weather protocol” from noon ET Friday through Wednesday — the second such act this year.
CNN’s Jennifer Henderson and Pete Montaigne contributed to this report.
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