Winter weather: State of emergency declared; schools closed Thursday

The threat of a winter storm prompted Gov. Roy Cooper to declare a state of emergency on Wednesday.

Cooper issued the state of emergency about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday and urged people to stay off the highways. People out on the roads not only make it more difficult for emergency responders but for DOT crews as well, Cooper said.

The N.C. Department of Transportation said it had more that 800 employees who have been putting brine on roads in preparation for the expected frozen precipitation, which began with sleet about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Snow was expected later Wednesday.

State Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said those employees are ready to shift their efforts to plowing and salting operations once the snowfall begins.

Trogdon said the first priority will be major highways then secondary roads, according to a Wednesday news release from the NCDOT.

Due to potentially hazardous road conditions, Greenville Utilities closed its offices at 2 p.m. Wednesday. In a news release issued Wednsday afternoon, GUC crews are on duty and ready to respond to emergencies in case of inclement weather. If customers need to report a utility related emergency, GUC asks customers to call its toll-free hotline at 1-855-767-2482.

GUC also will be posting storm updates on our website (, Twitter and Facebook.

Also Wednesday, Pitt County Schools announced that schools will be closed on Thursday.

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