SECTION 4: RISK ASSESSMENT
closed due to numerous accidents. Over 150 automobile accidents were reported across central North Carolina due to icy bridges. The storm caused $415,000 in damage across the region; Wake County itself suffered $30,000 in recorded damage. February 25-26, 2015 – As a low pressure system tracked along the southeast coast, wintry precipitation spread into central North Carolina. Much of the impacted area received 2-4 inches of snow and sleet, with norther counties receiving up to 7-9 inches. In addition to the snow, some areas also saw ice accumulations. The heavy, wet snow caused extensive power outages, with some outages extending beyond 24 hours. In Wake County, snowfall/sleet amounts of 2 to 6 inches fell across the county. The heavy wet snow caused widespread power outages from falling trees and power lines. At the peak of the storm, over 92,000 customers were without power in the county. February 7, 2016 – A deepening low pressure system tracking along the southeast coast spread precipitation into the eastern portions of North Carolina. A trace to a couple tenths of an inch of snow and sleet fell across Wake County. This brief burst of wintry weather caused numerous traffic accidents. Wake County received six emergency declarations and presidential disaster declarations since 1968 for incidents related to severe winter storms. As a state, North Carolina received eight disaster declarations related to severe winter storms during this timeframe. Table 4.70 – Emergency & Disaster Declarations in Wake County due to Severe Winter Storms
Date 1968 1977 1993 1996 2000 2003
Incident End 2/10/1968 3/2/1977 3/17/1993 1/12/1996 2/1/2000 12/6/2002
Severe Ice Storm
2/10/1968 3/2/1977 3/13/1993 1/6/1996 1/24/2000 12/4/2002
3033 3110 1087 1312 1448
Severe Snow and Winter Storm
Severe Winter Storm
Severe Ice Storm
Source: FEMA, December 20, 2018
Probability of Future Occurrence NCEI records 46 severe winter storm related events during the 20-year period from 1998 through 2017, which is an average of 2.3 events per year or more than 100 percent probability in any given year. Probability: 4 – Highly Likely Climate Change Per the 2018 North Carolina Hazard Mitigation Plan, there is uncertainty associated with climate change impacts on future severe winter storms. Global temperature rise could cause shorter and warmer winters in many areas; however, the likelihood of dangerously low temperatures may increase due to continuing trends of temperature extremes. Warmer winters, however, mean that precipitation that would normally fall as snow may begin to fall as rain or freezing rain instead.
Vulnerability Assessment People
Winter storms are considered deceptive killers because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm event. The leading cause of death during winter storms is from automobile or other transportation accidents due to poor visibility and/or slippery roads. Additionally, exhaustion and heart attacks caused by overexertion may result from winter storms.
Wake County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan 2019
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