Guilford County has been in a perpetual State of Emergency for nearly two years due to COVID-19 and now an approaching winter storm has created what is essentially a double State of Emergency.

An emergency proclamation sent out late Friday night, Jan. 14 stated: “Guilford County has declared a local State of Emergency due to the potential impacts of the forecasted winter storm predicted to move through the area this weekend. The State of Emergency will go into effect 12:00 AM Sunday morning, January 16, 2022.”

Under the new declaration, cities and towns in Guilford County have the option to sign on to the county’s order and coordinate with the county under the standing Guilford County Emergency Operations Plan. When the county made its announcement late Friday night, county staff were still communicating with those local governments to see which ones wished to sign on.

The advice the county is giving to residents isn’t surprising. In a State of Emergency, it’s a good idea to just stay home if at all possible.  In a double State of Emergency, it’s a really, really good idea to stay home.

Residents are “encouraged to stay off the roadways during the impact and post-impact timeframes of the storm if reasonably possible, and to limit travel so as not to interfere with efforts of emergency responders and repair crews.”

Based on the weather forecasts, county officials anticipate that the storm will “significantly” impact Guilford County and the state as a whole by bringing snow, sleet and freezing rain that will result in icy roads and bring all sorts of other problems like downed powerlines and fallen trees.

Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston issued a statement for all county residents Friday evening.

“Our Emergency Management officials have advised that we are expecting this storm to have a significant impact in many parts of Guilford County,” Alston said. “Declaring a state of emergency now allows our emergency responders time to prepare and to move supplies and equipment where they expect to need them the most.  This declaration also gives our first responders the ability to respond to any storm needs swiftly.  I urge our residents to take proper precautions with this storm. Err on the side of caution and take predictions for this winter storm seriously.”

The Guilford County Emergency Management Division has been monitoring the weather and is anticipating that trouble could begin late Saturday night.