By Nathan Ham
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the High Country, predicting 1-3 inches of snow and up to a half-inch of ice, which would make traveling treacherous and increase the chances of power outages from tree limbs breaking and falling.
The warning officially starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday night and will continue through 1 a.m. Friday morning. According to the NWS, a low pressure system will start as a mix of snow and sleet tonight before changing to freezing rain through most of the day Thursday before changing back to a mix of sleet and snow.
With the potential for a bigger ice accumulation, Blue Ridge Energy says they are prepared and ready to respond if outages take place over the next couple of days.
Blue Ridge Energy members are advised to be prepared with the cooperative’s outage reporting options and tips below.
Outages may be reported the following ways:
- Call 1-800-448-2383
- By using the Blue Ridge Energy mobile app
- By text when signed up for outage texting (to sign up: be sure your mobile number is listed on your account, then text START to 70216. Then, you can text OUT to 70216 anytime you have an outage)
For outage status at any time:
- View the cooperative’s online outage map at www.BlueRidgeEnergy.comor on our mobile app.
The cooperative recommends having the following on hand to stay safe and comfortable in the event of outages:
- Flashlights with extra batteries
- NOAA Weather Radio (or, sign up for notifications from emergency and weather services on your smart phone or table)
- Keep cell phones charged and have fully charged battery backups
- Extra water for drinking and cooking
- Nonperishable food items
- First aid kit, including prescription medications
Blue Ridge Energy posts information during major outages on its social media channels: www.facebook.com/blueridgeenergy; www.instagram.com/blueridgeenergy and www.twitter.com/blueridgeemc. However, outage reporting is only available using one of the three options above (phone, mobile app or text) to ensure outages are immediately and accurately logged into the cooperative’s outage reporting and management system.
Looking ahead at the rest of the week according to the forecast provided by Ray’s Weather Center, snow showers and flurries will still be hanging around Friday as temperatures remain cold. The high temperatures over the next three days will be hovering around freezing, including Saturday when skies clear. On Sunday, the high temperature will approach 40 degrees and will remain clear until clouds build up on Sunday night. Light rain and snow will return to the forecast on Monday with highs in the upper 30s and lows in the upper 20s.