Freezing Weather Threatens Blood Bank Supply

Jan 30, 2014

The Red Cross says North Carolina blood banks at 1,500 units short, after winter weather has caused dozens of drives to be canceled.
Credit Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Gay / United States Navy, ID 080814-N-0486G-006

The Polar Vortex isn’t loosening its grip on North Carolina. Freezing temperatures hit a record-low seven degrees in Elizabeth City this morning. Chowan County in the eastern part of the state had 9 inches of snow on the ground by yesterday afternoon.

But a series of cold spells and and days of icy roads have led to the cancellation of dozens of blood drives.

Lu Esposito of the Red Cross said the Triangle region is short 1,500 units of blood of all types.

“That means that hospitals could potentially be low on the blood that they need to treat patients,” Esposito said. “So that's why, when it's safe to get out and give blood, we're really urging people, if they can, to do that.”

Lu Esposito recommends calling the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS to find out which blood centers are open and accepting donations. She also says prospective donors should check road conditions before leaving home.

National Weather Service forecaster Jonathan McGee says temperatures will creep slightly above freezing this afternoon, but any ice and snow melt will be minimal.

McGee says the temperatures will likely rise into the 40s tomorrow and the 50s Saturday.