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Snow Storm To Pick Up Steam, Red Cross Shelters Open, Safety Tips

From Watauga County Road Conditions at 11 a.m. Friday: “Main roads are snow covered but passable for the most part with the right vehicles (no 2 wheel drives), according to incoming reports. Secondary and gravel roads are of course covered as well.”

By Jesse Wood

Boone Town Manager John Ward announced that emergency personnel with the town, Watauga County and Appalachian State University met on Thursday afternoon in preparation for the snowstorm that is forecasted to last through Saturday evening.

“We are ready,” Ward said at Thursday night’s meeting.

Schools and colleges are closed. County and town offices are closed. A number of preschools and banks are closed as well. See a detailed list here of closings in the High Country. 

The American Red Cross opened shelters to make sure everyone has a chance to stay dry and warm at the Alliance Bible Fellowship Church at N.C. 105 Bypass and Deep Gap Fire Department on Old U.S. 421.

The storm began in the middle of the night, but – as RaysWeather.com noted in its forecast today – the “big show is today and tonight with snow and snow showers continuing until Saturday evening.”

However, the snow accumulation forecasts have been scaled back a tad bit.

“We’ll have two surges of snow: one this morning, a pause in the afternoon, then another surge tonight into Saturday morning. We are revising the snow accumulation totals slightly to 16″-20″ as more typical for the region; however, there will be spots over 20″. For Tennessee readers, there will be a sharp cutoff west of the NC/TN line where a dry slot develops quickly today,” RaysWeather.com said.

With that much snow on the way, consider what Ward said was the impact of the snow Boone received on Wednesday, the mini-storm that RaysWeather.com called an “appetizer” to the current accumulation.

“With less than about two inches of snow hitting the ground, we experienced 19 wrecks, three stranded vehicles, four medical snow-related calls and a 180 phone calls into communications resulting just from yesterday’s weather,” Ward said.

He also suggested to the public to not go out into the elements unless you have to and to consider the lives of the first responders and public safety personnel who are put into risky situations trying to save others in inclement weather.

Watauga County Emergency Management urged residents to plan and prepare for the severe winter weather event and suggested the following tips:

  • Refrain from traveling in all manners during this winter event if possible.
  • Make sure all your needed medications, and oxygen are filled ahead of time as pharmacies will likely be closed over the next few days.
  • Have a strong food and water supply established.
  • Have a secondary source for heating in the event of power outages. Ensure all fuel burning heating appliances are properly vented to avoid carbon monoxide exposure.
  • In the event of an emergency remember to dial 911.
  • Continually monitor weather stations.