Snow has passed, but bitter temperatures could still cause problems
Cold overnight temperatures and winds gusting over 30 miles per hour could cause problems for the Tuesday morning commute in Western North Carolina. School systems across the region have canceled classes for the day.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation says it will be until Wednesday when all clearing operations in the mountains are completed. With additional snowfall forecast to end Monday evening, crews have continued their work non-stop. “Our crews have been working around the clock for several days, and they’re doing a great job keeping interstates and primaries clear,” Western Deputy Chief Engineer Brian Burch said in a statement. “We hope to get to as many secondary roads as possible before freezing temps come tonight. It’s going to get cold enough in some places where salt will not work.” Temperatures overnight are forecast to fall in the teens, with winds gusting over 30 miles per hour.
About 11-hundred Duke Energy customers in Western North Carolina were still without power late Monday afternoon following Sunday’s record snowstorm. About half of the outages are in the Cashiers and Franklin areas. A Duke Energy spokesman said they hope to have all outages restored today, though some in Jackson, Macon, and Swain Counties could linger into tomorrow.
Northeastern Swain County along the Tennessee border received the highest snowfall total in the region according to the National Weather Service, with an area of western Polk County between Tryon and Saluda not far behind. Both got more than 15 inches. The Asheville Regional Airport broke a 131-year-old daily snowfall record with just over 10 inches on Sunday. The snow caused several events marking the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in Asheville to be canceled Monday.
Rescue crews in Haywood County were able to locate a hiker Sunday on the popular Art Loeb Trail near the Shining Rock Wilderness area. Haywood County Search & Rescue said the man realized as weather conditions deteriorated it might be more than he was prepared to handle. Temperatures lingered just above freezing with a wind chill of 27 degrees when rescuers received a call about the stranded hiker at 10:15 a.m.
Reporting from the Associated Press contributed to this story