FORSYTH COUNTY — Representatives of Forsyth County government agencies, emergency services and the school system convened this morning at the local public safety complex to monitor the advancing winter storm and make any necessary preparations.
About 40 people attended a National Weather Service briefing at 11 a.m. before each department discussed its plans, according to Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers.
Shivers began by noting that the emergency operations center is the “heartbeat of the county’s operations at any time of crisis or severe weather.”
“We have a potential winter weather event where we might encounter some icing and several inches of snow potentially,” he said. “Certainly, we’ve already seen a good bit of rain throughout the morning, so there’s always the potential for a slight bit of flooding.”
The next 48 hours are the most critical for the county, he said, especially north Forsyth.
According to the National Weather Service, the county is under a winter weather advisory from 3 p.m. today until 7 p.m. Saturday; a wind advisory until 6 tonight; and a flood watch until Saturday at 7 a.m.
On Thursday night, the school system announced that classes and all after-school athletics and activities were canceled today and Saturday.
According to Shivers, bringing everyone together to work out of the emergency operations center ensures “all county services are coordinating together and making sure there is a unified effort.”
He added that the potential for icing is the most troubling weather prediction.
“Snow we can deal with. If roads start icing, and power lines and trees start icing, if that occurs we are prepared to deploy out special units and to do our best to meet the needs of the public,” he said.
Four-wheel drive vehicles are on standby. Chainsaws have been prepared and distributed to sheriff’s deputies. All agencies will be fully staffed throughout the weather event.
“This afternoon and evening is probably going to be the worst time,” Shivers said. “The best advice is to get home and stay home. If you’re at work, if at all possible, leave early and get home and off the roadways before dark. It puts you at the safest possible location — at your own home.”