Winter Weather survival tips for Orange County residents, pets

ORANGE COUNTY, NC (December 14, 2016) – The first blast of severe winter weather is expected to chill Orange County later this week, with lows dropping into the teens Thursday night and the forecast high for Friday barely reaching above the freezing level.

Orange County Emergency Services urges citizens to prepare now for this winter chill with the following reminders:

  • If pipes have frozen in the past, they most likely will again unless precautions are taken. Consider additional insulation, opening cabinet doors to allow the internal heat to get closer to the wall, and let the water trickle (drip) overnight.
  • Check your insurance policy for flooding due to frozen pipes to see what is covered. Sometimes the home structure is only covered (drywall, insulation, furniture), but not replacing the busted pipes.
  • Wear warm clothes and keep a blanket in the vehicle if traveling, even if only to the quick mart or grocery store. Fill your vehicle gas tank.
  • Fill propane tanks (if used for emergency heat), or generator tanks (if used for emergency heat/power). Make sure chainsaws crank, have fuel mix and chain oil.
  • NEVER USE CHARCOAL GRILLS FOR EMERGENCY HEAT. They produce the highest amount of carbon monoxide and can be deadly.
  • For more information on how to prepare for winter storms, download the free ReadyNC app, which provides real-time information on traffic and weather conditions plus open shelters and items needed in an emergency supplies kit, or visit

Orange County’s public facilities will be open during normal business hours for citizens looking to get out of the cold for fun and warm activities.

The Orange County Public Library Main Branch in Hillsborough (137 W. Margaret Lane) is open Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from Noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Both Orange County Senior Centers will be open. The Passmore Senior Center (103 Meadowlands Drive, Hillsborough) is open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Seymour Senior Center (2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill) is open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The Cedar Grove Community Center (5800 Highway 86 North, Hillsborough) is open Monday-Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. The Efland Cheeks Community Center (117 Richmond Rd, Efland, NC) is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Don’t forget your four-legged friends

Pets also need extra attention when temperatures drop. In cold or freezing conditions, it’s always best to keep pets inside as much as possible. Limit walks if snow, ice, or salts are present on roadways and sidewalks. When pets do go outside, be sure to clean their paws when bringing them back inside. Consider sweaters for shorter haired pets.

For animals that absolutely must remain outside, wind-proof shelter is crucial for their comfort and survival. Structures should be sturdy and closed on at least three sides, with blankets, straw, and other insulating materials provided for bedding and warmth. It’s best for structures to be small enough to retain heat, while large enough for the pet to move around and find comfort and options from wind if needed. Fresh water should be provided at all times and should be checked often for freezing. Outside animals should receive extra food during cold months to allow them the needed calories to stay warm.

Even residents who do not own pets should be mindful of animals during winter months. Antifreeze is extremely toxic in even small doses, so spills should be cleaned up quickly and containers should be secured. Warm car engines are often the favorite hiding spots for kittens, cats, and other smaller animals. Always bang on your hood during cold mornings before starting your car.

If you see an animal that is left in the elements outside and appears to be in danger, call Animal Control immediately at 919-942-7387 during regular hours or through 9-1-1 after hours.