Businesses in Charlotte were bracing Monday for a winter storm that threatened to down power lines, freeze pipes and create hazardous road conditions.
Area companies already anticipate high demand for products and services to deal with the ice, which can often be more dangerous than snow, and were advising customers to plan ahead.
Kearns Little, a co-owner of Little Hardware on South Mint Street, said the flow of customers was “brisk.” He said items quick to sell include salt, snow shovels, kerosene heaters and sleds.
“If you do not have to go out when it’s icy, don’t. It’s safer to stay at home. Ice will bring down trees, which will bring down power lines,” Little said. “Think ahead about keeping warm. It’s been below freezing since yesterday, and pipes are going to start freezing up.”
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At Hipps Hardware on Hovis Road, store manager Calvin Wyatt said he anticipated lots of customers would be looking for salt and potassium chloride to melt the ice on sidewalks, driveways and roads.
Meteorologists say ice accumulation could also bring down trees and power lines, resulting in possible power outages.
Tim Young of Tim Young Tree Services said there’s not a lot of preparation his team can do ahead of a storm, but it will be ready to put in extra hours if necessary.
“In storm weather, we work late to accommodate the public. Even though we do have quite a few tree services in town, it does overload our capacity real quick,” Young said. “This type of work is very dangerous – you have to go a certain speed to get it done right.”
For other businesses, the work might get busier after the storm Tuesday, as customers slog through pockets of snow and hit spots of black ice on their way to work.
That’s the case for Rescue Tow Truck, said JT Simpson, the company’s owner and manager.
“Normally when storms come, a lot of people do not drive. They stay at home,” Simpson said. “The real busy time is after the storm when people venture out and they slide out of their driveway, get stuck in a ditch, et cetera.”