By Nathan Ham
It has been over 48 hours since most of the snowfall ended in the High Country and there are a lot of people still digging out cars, cleaning off sidewalks and parking lots.
Crews for the Town of Boone Public Works have been hard at work since the start of the storm and will be on into the future, that according to Boone Public Works Deputy Director Todd Moody.
“We’ve had crews working day and night on 12-hour shifts. We started that on Saturday night,” said Moody.
All of the snow removed in Boone eventually ends up piled in the Horn in the West parking lot. Moody estimated that right now there is close to 7,250 cubic yards of snow in the parking lot with more still to come.
“That has all come out of the downtown area. It’s been a while since we have had a pile of snow like that,” Moody said.
The next big step in snow removal will be cleaning off the sidewalks.
“We’ve worked on sidewalks since the beginning and will be working on them for days to come. All of the snow that comes off the roadway, and then you get private contractors pushing parking lots, the sidewalk just becomes a snow storage area for everyone and we have to try and move it,” said Moody.
Moody added that the small tractors that the town typically uses to clean off the sidewalks have not been very effective dealing with this huge amount of snow. Town workers are using snow blowers, skid steers and motor graders to help move the snow.
“Pretty much anything we can get on to try and move snow,” Moody says. “It’s just going to take some time with the amount of sidewalks we have, the amount of snow on them and the available resources. We’re doing all we can with it.”
Several official snow totals from Winter Storm Diego have been shared by the National Weather Service. From the Blacksburg office, the Aho community in Watauga County received the most snow in the area with 26 inches. Boone got 21.5 inches, Valle Crucis had 21 inches Rutherwood had 19 inches, Deep Gap had 18 inches, Meat Camp got 18 inches and Blowing Rock had 16.7 inches. In nearby Ashe County, Fleetwood ended up with 25 inches while the Baldwin community had 23 inches and Idlewild had 20 inches.
Snow totals off the mountain were just as impressive with North Wilkesboro receiving 17.8 inches of snow and Lenoir receiving 16 inches of snow.
Snow totals for Avery County have not been made official as of yet according to the NWS Greenville Office. Preliminary reports are that Sugar Mountain received 20 inches of snow while both Linville and Pineola had 18 inches and Banner Elk had 16 inches of snow.
According to snowfall data provided by Ray’s Weather Center, this snowstorm was the largest on record to ever hit Boone in the month of December. Their official total of 18.5 inches beat the original record set December 26-27, 1969 of 18 inches. The records go all the way back to 1929.
According to meteorologist David Still at Ray’s Weather, this weather pattern is shaping up to bring plenty more wet weather and cold temperatures to the High Country once winter really gets cranked up.
“I think we will go through this spell leading up to Christmas with some rain and it’s not especially cold, but I think January and February looks cold and active,” said Still. “We’ve got a long ways to go, we like this pattern for big snow and cold.”
Historical December snow event totals
December 8-10, 2018: 18.5 inches
December 26-27, 1969: 18 inches
December 1-3, 1974: 16 inches
December 19-20, 2009: 15 inches
December 17, 1930: 15 inches
December 12-14, 2010: 14 inches
December 25, 1939: 12 inches
December 4, 1971: 11 inches
Largest snowfalls on record in Boone
1. March 13-14, 1993 – 30 inches (15 inches fell each day)
2. January 5-7, 1996 – 26 inches
3. January 26, 1998: 19 inches (Highest single day snow event on record)
4. December 8-10, 2018: 18.5 inches
5. December 18-19, 2009: 15 inches
6. December 12-14, 2010: 14 inches (Snowiest December on record with 28.7 inches total)
Photos below are from Horn in the West on Wednesday morning, December 12.