Thousands Still Without Power As Storm Cleanup Takes Hold In WNC

Dec 7, 2018

(Tuesday 10:00 a.m.)  Around 15-thousand Duke Energy customers remained without power Tuesday morning in the BPR listening area due to last weekend's snow storm.  It could be another day or two before service is restored to those areas.  BPR is among those being affected, as the station lost power at its three of its transmitter sites.  Those sites are running on generator power, but as the station is not able to access the sites to service them, it could go off the air in certain areas when the generators run out of power.

Transylvania and Haywood Counties are the areas most affected by the lingering outages.  Temperatures overnight Monday were well below freezing, leaving the possibility of icy conditions on roads Tuesday morning.  That led to most school systems in Western North Carolina calling off for the second straight day.  Local governments such as the city of Asheville's operated on a delay, with most back open late Tuesday morning.  Temperatures Tuesday night are again expected to go well below freezing, meaning roads could be icy again Wednesday morning.

 

(Monday 6:30 p.m.)Haywood County schools are closed tomorrow along with Jackson County schools. Macon County schools are operating on a 2-hour delay but remember that buses will not run on icy roads. Here is a full list of icy roads that buses will not visit.  If a change is needed Macon County will revise the day by 7am. Transylvania county will operate as a virtual day. Here’s more info on what that means. Yancey County Schools will be closed.   This will be a teacher workday with all staff  on a two hour delay.

A-B Tech will remain closed during the day on Tuesday, Dec. 11th for all students and staff. A decision about evening classes will be made by 4 pm. UNC Asheville will resume normal hours starting at 8 a.m.

 

 

(Monday 4:00 pm)  More than 30 thousand customers of Duke Energy and North Carolina Electric Cooperatives  in Western North Carolina are still without power according to the  North Carolina Department of Public Safety Power Outage map.  The map  is updated every  30 minutes and includes every county in the state.  Check it out  here

(Monday 1:00 p.m.)   Initial estimates from the National Weather Service in Greenville/Spartanburg show upwards of 16 inches of snow fell in parts of the region over the weekend.  North Carolina Department of Public Safety Power Outage map is updated every hour and includes every county in the state .  

 

Those initial estimates from NWS showed the highest snowfall total was 16.9 inches around Cedar Mountain and Dupont State Forest along the border of Transylvania and Henderson Counties.  Northern parts of Transylvania County that border Buncombe County also saw 16 inches of snow.

 

Initial snowfall estimates from the National Weather Service in Greenville/Spartanburg
Credit NWS GSP

That area is where Duke Energy has the highest number of outages in the BPR listening area.  According to its outage map, Duke does not have an estimated time for when service will be restored.

ART bus service in Asheville started back up at noon Monday after being suspended Saturday afternoon.  It was the first sign that services were getting back to normal in the region after the storm.  School systems and universities were closed Monday, but UNC-Asheville already announced it would resume normal operations on Tuesday.  Henderson County schools however have already called out for Tuesday.  Temperatures are expected to top 40 degrees on Monday afternoon, aiding in melting snow that has fallen.  But overnight they will approach the teens, which could mean icy roads Tuesday morning.  

(Monday 6:30 a.m.)  A winter storm warning from the National Weather Service remains in effect for Western North Carolina until 2 p.m. this afternoon, as snow continues to fall in the region.  School systems, universities, and local governments across Western North Carolina are closed today.  Around 27-thousand Duke Energy customers were still without power as of 6 a.m. Monday (Duke Energy outage map).  The utility is not giving a timeline for when it expects to have power restored to those customers. 

The National Weather Service forecasts 1 to 3 inches of snow could fall in Buncombe County this morning, with higher amounts possible in areas of higher elevation, particularly to the south.  Many of those areas saw more than a foot of now already over the weekend.  ART bus service in Asheville remains suspended Monday morning.  The city is hoping to restart service at noon.  Many flights were cancelled Monday morning at Asheville Regional Airport, though not all were.  

 

(Sunday 6:20 p.m.) Transylvania, Swain and Macon County as well as UNC Asheville have all also cancelled school to add to the list of cancelled classes below.

Waynesville has instituted an 8pm curfew in order to keep residents safely at home.

Mission Health has an updated list of closing here. The majority of locations are closed or opening at noon tomorrow.

Additional shelters have also opened to add to the full Red Cross list:

Collett Recreation Center

100 Collett St., Morganton, NC 28655

 

Dunbar Elementary School

286 Learning Parkway, Forest City, NC 28043

Trinity Baptist Church

216 Shelbourne Rd., Asheville, NC 28806

 

 

 

(Sunday  3:15p.m.) Over 70,000 people in our region are out of power and almost 250,000 outages statewide as of 2pm according to NC Emergency Management.

Cherokee County has not been impacted. However there are adverse conditions in the rest of the region. Macon, Jackson and Haywood County have all issued a states of emergency. Jackson and Haywood County Schools have already closed for Monday with an optional teacher workday.

The following roads are closed west of Asheville. Check out your road on the NC DOT site here.

-The Wayah Rd in Macon County is closed in both directions due to downed trees.

- US 441 in Swain County is closed in both directions due to weather conditions.

- In Haywood County, the rest area at mile marker 9 on I-40 near the Tennessee line is closed.

Residents should use extreme caution on roadways today and tonight reminds Macon County Emergency Services.

If you need shelter the following Red Cross Shelters are open. Here is the full list:

First Baptist Church of Old Fort, NC

203 E Main St., Old Fort, NC 28762

 

Haywood County Health & Human Services Agency

157 Paragon Parkway, Clyde, NC 28721

 

Moore County Agricultural Center

707 Pinehurst Ave., Carthage, NC 28327

 

Polk County Middle School

321 Wolverine Trail, Mill Spring, NC 28756

 

Rockingham Middle School

182 High School Rd., Reidsville, NC 27320

 

Saluda Vol. Fire Dept.

199 Walnut Street, Saluda, NC 28773

 

Transylvania Co. Activity Ctr.

1078 Ecusta Dr., Brevard, NC 28712

 

YMCA of Western North Carolina

348 Grace Corpening Dr., Marion, NC 28752

 

Dunbar Elementary School

286 Learning Parkway, Forest City, NC 28043

 

East Henderson High School

110 Old Upward Rd., East Flat Rock, NC 28726

 

Graham Recreation Center

311 College St., Graham NC 27253

 

 (Sunday 11:00 a.m.)  More than 50-thousand Duke Energy customers were without power late Sunday morning in Western North Carolina after a snowstorm dumped several inches of wet, heavy snow overnight.  (Duke Energy Outage Map)  Accumulations were very localized throughout the region.  In the immediate Asheville area, around 8 inches of snow fell.  In areas to north slightly more fell, with snowfall totals above a foot to the south.  More snow is in the forecast for Sunday, with 3 to 5 inches possible.

Crews in the city of Asheville spent the overnight areas clearing snow on main roads.  According to a city spokeswoman, 'priority 1' roads are being cleared first to ensure first responders can travel on passable roads.  (City of Asheville snow removal priority map)  “All roads are snow covered and it is still snowing,” said Streets Operations Manager Jerry Yates in a press release.  “The snow is covering it up as fast as we can plow it off.”  That same press release reported that downed trees were also blocking three roads in the city Sunday morning -

 

·         463 Emma Road

·         Robinhood at Brookwood

·         Chunns Cove at Rivercane

(Saturday 3:30 p.m.)  Buncombe County and city of Asheville officials are urging residents to stay off roads once snow starts falling and ice begins to accumulate.  At a press conference Saturday afternoon, county emergency services director Jerry Vehaun said the worst of the weather will start at 8 p.m. this evening, and that between 12 and 20 inches of snow are forecast to fall in the county.  

Vehaun added power outages due to the weather are likely because 'heavy wet snow' will fall during this storm, with ice forming on lines once temperatures drop below freezing.  Temperatures are expected to stay above freezing through Saturday and into the early hours on Sunday.

 

Duke Energy Outage Map

 

The National Weather Service in Greenville/Spartanburg has issued a winter weather warning until noon Monday for Western North Carolina.  Overnight Saturday into Sunday morning is when snowfall will be heaviest.  Slightly higher accumulations are expected to the south of Buncombe County in Henderson & Transylvania Counties, with slightly lower amounts to the west.

 

In the city of Asheville, authorities are asking residents to not park their cars on city streets once plows are needed to clear snow.  City-owned parking garages in the central business district will be free during the storm to help.  ART bus service was suspended Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m., and officials are monitoring the weather closely to determine when it will start back up.

 

(Saturday 1:00 p.m) Gov. Roy Cooper asked residents to stay off roads Saturday night and Sunday as the state prepares for a major winter storm system that forecasters say will bring a wide range of snow totals. 

The governor held a media briefing  earlier today and you can watch it here.

The governor's office issued this press release:   

“This is a snow storm, not a snow fall. It’s serious,” Gov. Cooper said. “In the Piedmont to western parts of our state, we’re preparing for days of impact, not hours.”

Snow accumulation will be significant in many areas and nearly all parts of the state will feel some impact from the storm. Roads are expected to become dangerous to travel in many areas. Utility companies are projecting that widespread power outages could affect over half a million homes and businesses. In some areas, power could be out for multiple days. Utilities are bringing in hundreds of line crews from out of state to help North Carolina workers clear trees and restore power.

The National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Warnings covering the mountains, foothills, Triad and Triangle. A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow, sleet, and ice will make travel very hazardous or impossible. A Winter Weather Advisory will also go into effect at 1 a.m. for portion of the coastal plain and a coastal flood advisory and wind advisory are in place beginning Sunday for parts of the coast.

Gov. Cooper urged residents to stay alert of the latest forecast as changes to the predicted snow or ice accumulations are likely. Minor changes in track can have a significant impact on precipitation types and expected accumulations in specific areas.

People in our mountains and foothills can expect the most snow with totals reaching more than a foot in some areas. The Triad area can expect as much as foot of snow and sleet. Charlotte can also expect significant snow and sleet. In the Triangle area, the current forecast shows 2 to 6 inches of snow and sleet. Areas east and south of Raleigh may only see less than an inch of snow or rain. Eastern North Carolina can expect rain, minor flooding, gusty winds and beach erosion to the coast.

“This weekend isn’t the time to head out to see the winter wonderland. Stay safe where you are,” Gov. Cooper said. “Getting out on dangerous roads could put your life at risk. It also gets in the way of first responders and road crews who’ll be hard at work trying to keep us safe and clear our roads.”

North Carolina Emergency Management officials are monitoring the weather closely and working with local Emergency Managers to help ensure the counties are prepared for any scenario. Gov. Cooper has activated the NC National Guard to help where needed and yesterday, he declared a State of Emergency statewide. State Highway Patrol troopers are ready to respond where most needed, and they encourage motorists to limit travel in areas where driving conditions become hazardous. Special teams of DOT, Highway Patrol and National Guard members will be staged near known interstate trouble spots, like Saluda Grade on I-26, Turner Grade on I-77 and along I-40 at the McDowell/Buncombe county line.

Crews with the N.C. Department of Transportation have spent the past few days brining roads and readying equipment to clear roadways of snow and ice. NCDOT is also monitoring forecasts so staff can start preparing for road clearing operations to begin around-the-clock. Since yesterday morning, crews have spread over 1.1 million gallons of brine solution on roads to prevent icing.

 

 (Friday 10:15 p.m.)  The National Weather Service in Greenville/Spartanburg has extended a winter storm warning to nearly all counties in Western North Carolina.  That warning starts at noon Saturday and lasts until noon on Monday.  Clay County is under a winter storm watch, while Cherokee County is under no advisory at all.  The snowfall accumulation forecasts remain the same.  In Buncombe County, 10 to 20 inches of snow are possible.  Slightly higher amounts are forecast for Henderson & Transylvania Counties to south, with slightly lesser amounts expected to the west.   Sleet falling Saturday afternoon will turn into snow later in the day, with the heaviest snowfall expected early Sunday.

 

Buncombe County declared a state of emergency Friday afternoon, coming right after the state of North Carolina did so.  “North Carolina is gearing up for a major winter storm and we’re taking all steps necessary to have the resources we need in place to respond,” Governor Roy Cooper said in a statement. “Snow may be beautiful but it can also be treacherous and I urge North Carolinians to take this storm seriously and get ready for it now.”

(Friday 5:30pm) The line of the winter “snowpocalypse” seems to fall in Buncombe County. The further west you travel the less snow is predicted. There are between 6 to 12 inches expected in Jackson, Haywood and Transylvania counties. Macon and Swain county fall into a middle ground between the 6  to 12 prediction for the eastern half of the county and then dropping down to a maximum of 3 inches. Clay and Graham counties both are looking at a maximum of 3 inches as well while Cherokee county is expecting less than 1 inch, according to forecast Friday morning from NC Emergency Management.

“Our current forecast seems to vary from 1-6” of snowfall in Macon County with some isolated higher amounts in the very high elevations,” says Warren Cabe director of Macon County emergency management.

Emergency services in Macon County has increased staffing over the weekend and disaster shelters are on standby. The first shelter that would open in Franklin would be Cartoogechaye Elementary School.

If the number of people requiring disaster sheltering is minimal and the clients meet American Red Cross guidelines they can instead be housed in local hotels through ARC funding, says Cabe. You can also find the nearest shelter through the American Red Cross website.  To see if you qualify for shelter during the store contact the Emergency Services office at 828-349-2067 during normal business hours or during extended hours if our Emergency Operations Center is open on at least a limited basis.  If a shelter is set up there will be specific contact number for the shelter on the office website.

We also want to advise people to not contact 9-1-1 for road conditions, power outages. People should contact the DOT for road conditions and the appropriate utility for outages, says Cabe.

(Friday 4:00 p.m.)  The National Weather Service in Greenville/Spartanburg has raised the expected snowfall totals for Western North Carolina this weekend.  The weather service forecasts for Buncombe County that two to four inches of snow and sleet will fall Saturday afternoon, with four to eight inches expected both overnight on Saturday, and then again on Sunday.  That would put the total accumlation for the region between 10 and 20 inches for the weekend.  Those numbers are slightly higher for Henderson & Transylvania Counties to the south.  All three counties, as well as McDowell, Yancey, and Mitchell, are under a winter weather warning starting at noon Saturday and lasting until noon on Monday.  The rest of Western North Carolina except for Cherokee County is under a winter storm watch during that time.

(Friday 3:10 p.m.)  Public works crews in Asheville started pre-treating primary roads ahead of this weekend's snow storm.  Crews are also treating sidewalks that are the city's responsibility - with 'special efforts' for those around the U.S. Cellular Center, which is hosting the annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam this weekend.  The show will go on despite the weather.  As for clearing snow from roads once snow starts falling, residents can check which roads are priority in Asheville with this map.  Remember, plowing for any road with a number (like I-26 or Route 19/23 Patton Avenue) is the responsibility of the state department of transportation.

According to a press release from Governor Roy Cooper's office, NCDOT crews were pre-treating roads as well on Friday.  The department has about 3,000 staff, 2,400 trucks with snow plows, and more than 135,000 tons of salt at the ready for this weekend.  “This storm comes at a time of year when North Carolinians are usually hearing carols about snow, not actually seeing it. But this time, the real thing is headed our way and North Carolina is getting prepared,” Governor Cooper said. “A winter storm’s not a Christmas carol snow. It’s serious, and you need to take steps now to get your family ready.”

(Friday 2:30 p.m.)  The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for parts of Western North Carolina starting Saturday evening, as a winter storm is expected to dump rain, sleet, and snow on the region.  The warning starts at 7 p.m. Saturday and lasts until noon on Monday.  The counties under the warning are Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania, McDowell, Yancey, Mitchell, and the far western edges of Polk and Rutherford.  The rest of Western North Carolina, except for Cherokee County, is under a winter storm watch. 

A winter storm will begin to arrive overnight in the region, with sleet possible Saturday morning.  One to three inches of snow and sleet are foreast for Saturday afternoon.  The heaviest part of the storm arrives Saturday night, and extends through Sunday and into Monday morning.  Three to seven inches are forecast to fall during that time period, with slightly higher amounts to the south of Asheville in Henderson and Transylvania Counties.

The city of Hendersonville on Friday afternoon declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm.  According to a press release the declaration will "allow city departments to take the necessary actions to prepare public infrastructure and facilities for the effects of the winter storm."  Hendersonville city manager John Connet in a statement encouraged the public to limit travel once snow and ice begins to accumulate on roadways.