by Allison Haver
With the majority of the snow falling early Wednesday night and Thursday morning, the winter storm warning would not be scheduled to be over over until Thursday night.
According to the National Weather Service, Winter Storm Pax has a few similarities to the Dec. 18-19, 2009, storm, from which Boone received 16 inches of snow.
The NWS said the winter storm warning for the High Country would not expire until 7 p.m. Thursday.
While heavy snowfall started Wednesday and has continued to accumulate throughout most of the day on Thursday, making many local roads dangerous for travel, many people have opted to stay indoors.
According to the Watauga County Sheriff's office, only four accidents were called into the Highway Patrol on Wednesday and only one accident was reported to the Boone Police Department.
"People went home and stayed there," said Stephanie Main, with the Boone Police Department. "We are really thankful for that."
Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation had announced that no outages occurred for members overnight and as of 6 a.m. Thursday. New River Light and Power also reported that no outages had occurred as of 11:30 a.m. on Thursday.
North Carolina's electric cooperatives, which serve more than 2.5 million people in 93 of the state's 100 counties, reported fewer than 16,000 outages as of 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.
Schools cancel class for Thursday
Watauga County schools closed for teachers, students and staff on Wednesday and closed again for Thursday. This makes 13 missed school days for students. Two of the days have been made up for a net loss of 11 school days.
Weather permitting and if school is held on Friday, schools will be open on an early release schedule this Saturday, Feb. 15.
Appalachian State University closed its doors at noon on Wednesday and stayed closed due to inclement weather on Thursday. The Watauga campus of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute also canceled day and evening classes for both Wednesday and Thursday.
Hospitality House needs
In anticipation of the winter storm, the Hospitality House in Boone reached out to community members for donations.
Blankets, sleeping bags, milk, bread, cheese, coffee and cream were just a few items that staff asked to be donated to the emergency shelter.
Hospitality House director of development Todd Carter said that with temperatures dropping and elements getting so bad people are faced with either dying or coming here (Hospitality House).
"I don't think people realize with Watauga County's poverty rate at 26 percent -- the third highest in the state, that people are living in their cars, sheds and barns," Carter said. "Typically, winter storms and severe cold temperatures do not qualify for Red Cross disaster relief, Carter said.
"If neighborhoods are displaced from their homes then Red Cross will open another shelter. However, people without homes or heat wouldn't qualify," he said.
Donations can be dropped off at the shelter at 338 Brook Hollow Road in Boone or donations can be made online at hospitalityhouseofboone.org.