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Originally published: 2013-01-22 16:21:08
Last modified: 2013-01-22 16:21:08

Our View: Keeping us plowing through the winter

Even in the High Country, significant snowfalls can be difficult to deal with. But snowfall that arises quickly from a heavy, cold rain and stays around long enough to drop as much as a foot of an icy snow mixture is more than difficult. It's dangerous, and it's a problem for motorists on our roadways and those at home who find themselves suddenly without power.

Thursday's first significant snowfall of the season didn't come as a surprise -- the National Weather Service did an admirable job of forewarning -- but it did come with all the challenges associated with icy roads and large-scale power outages.

Most of us could ride out these challenges at home until conditions cleared. But the unsung heroes are those who drive into the face of our storms to do that clearing.

Very early Friday, travel was nearly impossible and certainly not advised. Especially in outlaying areas of Watauga County and nearly all of Ashe County, roadways were caked in snow covering a solid sheet of ice. Yet, not far into those morning hours, a tremendous effort by our road crews had cleared major thoroughfares, and were pushing mightily into our back-road connectors.

At the same time, line workers were digging through the effects of the storm to restore power to nearly 9,000 people left in the cold. Although the bulk of those homes had power restored Friday, those efforts continued through Saturday.

For doing the tough job during weather conditions that can never be fully prepared for, our maintenance crews, rescue workers and utility operators deserve our thanks. Thursday's snowfall was a major test, and after last year's mild winter, the first test in recent memory. They were well-prepared.