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High Winds Bring Down Trees and Power Lines Across the High Country; Gusts over 100 MPH Recorded at Grandfather Mountain

Photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Energy

By Nathan Ham

Overnight winds on Wednesday night and Thursday morning left several trees down and even a few power lines as crews have been working to restore power to customers.

As of 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon, crews from Blue Ridge Energy are still attempting to restore power to 280 members in Watauga County, 88 members in Ashe County, 19 members in Caldwell County and 3 members in Alleghany County. Overall, nearly 6,000 customers lived in areas where winds caused damage to the electrical lines. At the time of the worst conditions around 3 a.m. Thursday morning, a total of 2,529 customers were without power, according to information provided by Blue Ridge Energy.

The worst-hit county was in Ashe where 47 locations were damaged that impacted over 1,800 members in the Obids, Timber Ridge, Shatley Springs and Highway 16 areas of the county.

In Watauga County, 31 different locations had damage with over 1,100 Blue Ridge Energy customers being impacted mostly near Blowing Rock, Sampson, Aho Deep Gap and along the Watauga River.

According to Ray’s Weather Center, wind gusts were reported over 65 MPH across Boone and other areas of the High Country.

Grandfather Mountain recorded its highest wind gust since February when it recorded a gust of 125 MPH, a new record for the mountain. This morning at approximately 3 a.m., a gust of 106.5 MPH was recorded at Grandfather. Gusts over 100 MPH were recorded from 1 a.m. until 5 a.m.

Ashe County Schools were closed today due to many roads blocked by fallen trees and several social media posts also reported damage to the roof of the gymnasium at Ashe County High School and damage at Blue Ridge Elementary School.

Ray’s Weather Center Station Wind Gust Speeds

Blowing Rock – 76 MPH

Jefferson – 67 MPH

Laurel Ridge – 66 MPH

Linville Ridge – 64 MPH

West Jefferson – 63 MPH

Boone – 57 MPH

Phillips Gap – 51 MPH

Blackberry – 41 MPH

Sugar Mountain – 38 MPH

Aho/Sorrento – 36 MPH

Newland – 31 MPH