UPDATE: 4-8 inches of snow forecasted
by Anna Oakes
The latest winter storm warning issued
by the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va., on Monday forecasts heavy, wet snow
accumulation of four to eight inches in the area of Boone, with greater amounts at higher
Category 1 Hurricane Sandy gained strength as it
headed for a mid-Atlantic landfall on Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Hurricane Sandy will combine with an upper low to bring colder air and snow to the mountains
through Tuesday night, the NWS alert said.
expected to range between the upper 20s and mid-30s, the NWS said. Heavy, wet snow combined with
gusty winds may topple trees and power lines, the NWS stated.
Because the storm began with rain and warm ground temperatures, road crews did
not pre-treat area roadways, according to N.C. Department of Transportation District Engineer Ivan
Dishman and Boone Public Works Director Blake Brown.
crews treated a few slick areas around Blowing Rock and Deep Gap this morning, Dishman
“We’ll have crews on the ready for tonight as
well,” he said, noting that roads will be treated with granulated salt.
Dishman advised motorists to be aware of areas that are shaded and roadways
crossing over bridges.
“Temperatures can change
quickly,” he said. “Those areas will be the first ones to see
Brown said Boone road crews are ready to push
snow and to treat roads with salt, as well as to clear trees or other debris downed by high
“All of our trucks are chained. We’re ready for anything that comes towards us,” said Brown. Twelve-hour crews are in place until the weather event is over, he said. The night crew left at noon Monday to get plenty of rest before the next shift begins at 7 p.m.
Gov. Beverly Perdue also declared a State of Emergency on Monday afternoon for Watauga County and 23 others in western North Carolina.
"People need to continue to take this storm seriously as we face flooding in the east and significant winter weather in the west," said Perdue. "I urge North Carolinians in the impacted areas to take the necessary precautions to stay safe in this storm."
Counties included in the declaration are: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey.
A state of emergency declaration allows utility and other large vehicles to enter the state and relieve impacted areas. It also gives Department of Public Safety Secretary Reuben Young the authority to deploy the State Emergency Response Team to take necessary action to ensure the safety and protection of people in North Carolina. In addition, the declaration prohibits price gouging.
At 5 p.m. Monday, Blue Ridge Electric released a statement informing customers that its employees "remain on high alert, ready to respond should outages occur tonight as high winds and severe weather from Hurricane Sandy hit northwest North Carolina."
Line technicians restored 400 outages that occurred throughout the day Monday as a result of high winds causing trees on power lines and broken poles, Blue Ridge Electric said. As of 4:30 p.m., linemen were restoring the final 37 members affected by the day’s outages.
Blue Ridge Electric reminds
members to report all outages to the cooperative’s PowerLine at 1-800-448-2383.
The cooperative also reminds the public to be aware of the dangers of downed power lines, which can still be energized. Coming into contact with an energized line could produce a serious injury or even death. No one but a trained line technician should handle or be near a downed power line.
The public should report downed power lines by speaking with a cooperative employee by calling any local Blue Ridge Electric office or at 1-800-451-5474.