With the possibility of icy conditions in the western part of the state and below average temperatures expected as an arctic mass approaches, Gov. Roy Cooper has signed a state of emergency to activate an emergency operations plan, waive transportation regulations to help the transport of fuel and critical supplies, help first responders and protect consumers from price gouging.

“We know that with the extremely low temperatures North Carolinians will need propane and other heating fuel to keep their families warm,” Cooper said in a news release. “While propane supplies are strong in the state, there is a limited supply of licensed commercial truck drivers, which is being further exacerbated by COVID and flu outbreaks. The State of Emergency will help ease some restrictions and allow heating fuel companies to keep up with demand.”

Temperatures were already dropping Thursday afternoon and into the night, and overnight temperatures were expected to be below 20 degrees, especially when the wind chill factor is added into the equation.

When opened, Rowan Helping Ministries will need volunteers to staff the warming station in either a three- or four-hour shift beginning at 8 p.m. and ending at 8 a.m. the following morning. Volunteers will help with manning the door, passing out blankets and providing comfort to those that seek warmth for the evening.

“RHM is opening a warming station to serve the homeless population in Jeannie’s Kitchen this winter on nights when temperatures are expected to be below 20 degrees,” according to a news release from the organization.