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The Snow, Wind and Blistering Cold Continues in the High Country on Wednesday, Roads in Rough Shape


By Jesse Wood

Jan. 7, 2015. With snow layering the ski resorts in the High Country also comes slick and covered roads across the region.

Officials with the Boone Police Department and Watauga County Communications are advising folks stay off the roads, and if they must, use caution and provide extra time for travel.

“So far, they are still fairly covered with a lot of icy spots being reported,” Watauga County Communications telecommunicator Luke Short. “The DOT has had a hard time keeping up with it so far. At this point, we’ve had a few wrecks in the county. It would be advisable to not drive unless you have to.”

Short added that the secondary roads are in worse shape than the main highways.

In addition to the N.C. Department of Transportation, snowplows with Boone have been working on roads and sidewalks in the town.

The National Weather Service has forecasted the snow to cease by this afternoon, and RaysWeather.com expects a dusting to one inch, with more in Western Watauga, for most of the region and one to three inches on the mountaintops. The National Weather Service had also issued a special weather statement and wind chill advisory for today.

Atop Beech Mountain at Fred’s General Mercantile, business manager Bernie Knepka said, “It’s probably a couple inches on the ground, 8.4 degrees and blowing sideways.”

Knepka added that staff was expecting a slower day, but business has been pretty steady early Wednesday.

“We are trying to figure out where they are coming from,” Knepka said.

Atop Grandfather Mountain, the story is much the same.

“While there are some areas with slightly deeper drifts, the winds have remained too strong and steady to measure significant accumulation so far,” Kellen Short, a spokeswoman at Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, said at about 1 p.m. on Wednesday. “At the Mile High Swinging Bridge, sustained winds are in the 55-65 mph range, and the highest wind speed in the last hour was 72 mph. The temperatures are also continuing to drop since this morning. At the bridge, it’s now 6.2 degrees with a -23 degree wind chill.”

Schools released earlier today, and Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation also warned members to be prepared for the subzero temperatures forecasted for tonight.