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Gaston County Emergency Services Prepares for Snow, Ice

Gastonia, N.C. – With the possibility for winter weather beginning on Thursday, February 20, Gaston County Emergency Services (GEMS) is preparing for all scenarios.

As of 3 p.m. on Wednesday, February 19, the National Weather Service has placed Gaston County into a Winter Weather Advisory, beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday and continuing until the end of the day. NWS estimates 1 to 2 inch snow totals.

Temperatures Thursday will be well above freezing, but are expected to fall into the 20s overnight Thursday into Friday. NWS is warning of the possibility for black ice and hazardous roadway conditions later Thursday into Friday.

To prepare emergency services for these conditions, GEMS will provide Yaktrax cleats to their paramedics and other employees there are ice or snow accumulations.

GEMS has already begun the process of replacing its fleet of ambulances with all-wheel drive vehicles. Those still in service that are not all-wheel drive have on-spot chains to allow them to drive in icy or snowy conditions. Additionally, each ambulance is stocked with a bucket of ice melt that can help if there is ice or snow on a patient’s driveway.

“Although we do not anticipate any significant accumulation or other issues from this particular storm, we are going through (our) plan to ensure we are ready for the unexpected,” GEMS Deputy Chief James McConnell said. “If it becomes imminent that we will see snow or ice, we will begin to cover windshields of ambulances not currently on duty in order to be able to quickly put those in service if the need arises.”

The county encourages its residents to stay weather aware. We will provide an update on conditions Thursday evening as to whether the storm may cause any sort of delay or closures for county buildings and staff on Friday.