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Hurricane Irma To Bring High Winds, Heavy Rain to the High Country Monday, Tuesday

Weather radar of the stormy weather on Monday afternoon.

By Jesse Wood

As Hurricane Irma makes its way from the Florida coast, the High Country is preparing for wet and windy weather over the next couple of days. Blue Ridge Energy has about 100 line technicians on call, ready to respond if outages occur.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for Monday afternoon through Tuesday at 9 a.m. Winds will come from the easterly direction at speeds of 15 to 2 mph and with gusts up to 50 mph, and RaysWeather.com is forecasting 1 to 3 inches of rain for most of the region and more than 4 inches in isolated spots. The heaviest rain will take place tonight into Tuesday.

“The higher elevations will really have what we would call significant winds,” Ray Russell, owner of RaysWeather.com. “For most places, they think 55 mph winds are the end of the world, but we deal with that fairly often in the wintertime.”

Russell noted that the higher elevations along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, such as Grandfather Mountain, Aho, Sorrento and even Blowing Rock, will see some of the windier weather. Russell did add that with all the leaves on the trees, the stakes for downed trees is higher.

According to the latest map of the storm’s estimated path from the National Weather Service, the storm is actually bypassing North Carolina as it heads into Georgia this afternoon and into Alabama, northern Mississippi and Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinios and Indiana Tuesday and Wednesday. See map below.

In light of the uncertainty, Blue Ridge Energy noted that its line crews are on call and have stocked their trucks with response materials for tree removal and urges cooperative members to prepare for the possibility of an outage. See tips for preparing for the storm – such as charging cell phones, securing outdoor items, assembling emergency kit and closing windows and doors, filling up on gas and more – at Blue Ridge Energy’s website.

“As a safety reminder, if high winds or rain lead to fallen trees and power lines, remember to stay far away from downed lines! Downed power lines can be dangerous, even deadly. Report downed power lines to Blue Ridge Energy at 1-800-451-5474 or call 911 immediately,” a release from Blue Ridge Energy states.

Members should report any outages to Blue Ridge Energy’s PowerLine: 1-800-448-2383.

In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper activated the N.C. National Guard and three staging areas have opened in Asheville (100 Minuteman Drive), Greensboro (110 Frankling Blvd.) and Charlotte (4240 West Blvd.) to support local authorities response to Hurricane Irma.

The storm moving through North Florida on Sunday evening.