Downed Trees from Last Night’s Storm Block Roads, Cause Power Outages for 2,500

Published Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at 9:31 am

High winds of last night’s storm featured downed trees that blocked roads and caused power outages. Photos by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

Overnight, the high winds from the storm related to Hurricane Irma downed trees that blocked roads and caused power outages in the High Country.

As of 9 a.m. on Tuesday, about 400 Blue Ridge Energy customers are without power in Watauga, Caldwell, Ashe and Avery counties. This compares to about 2,500 customers, primarily in Watauga County, that were without power around 10 p.m. on Monday evening.

According to a 6 a.m. update from Blue Ridge Energy, “In hardest hit Watauga County, line technicians are working to repair damage in the remaining 16 different locations to restore power to 1,109 members. These are primarily in the areas of Shulls Mill Road, Yonahlossee, and Poplar Grove Road. Additionally, tree removal efforts are underway for a blocked area along Hwy 105 South in Foscoe.”

Watauga County Emergency Management Director Taylor Marsh didn’t immediately respond to messages on Tuesday morning. But during the last online update from Watauga County Emergency Management, which coordinated with Boone emergency officials, on Monday evening, crews were working on several downed trees blocking roads across the county. Many of these roads seemed to be located in the western section of Watauga.

Roads that were temporarily blocked throughout the night included Elk Creek Road, Old U.S. 421 near Mable School, U.S. 421 near Tennessee, N.C. 194, Slabtown Road, Deerfield Road near the airport on Bamboo Road, Bethel and McGuire roads, Old Shulls Mill Road, Silverstone Road and more.

Watauga County Schools operated on a two-hour delay on Tuesday morning.

RaysWeather.com recorded a high wind speed (not gusts) of 30 and 36 on Beech Mountain last night at 9:50 p.m. and 1:14 a.m. this morning. This compares to high wind speeds of 20 and 22 mph in Boone last night and this morning.

Gusty winds also knocked plenty of green leaves off the trees. If this storm occurred in early October, the upcoming fall leaf color season would surely be less vibrant than usual.

Yesterday, Ray Russell of RaysWeather.com said the gusty winds of this storm would be nothing more than what the High Country usually deals with each winter and forecasted 1 to 3 inches of rain for much of the region. 

Gusty winds also knocked plenty of green leaves off the trees. If this storm occurred in early October, the upcoming fall leaf color season would surely be less vibrant than usual.

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