Preparing for the White Stuff
A fast moving winter storm is pushing into the North Carolina mountains. The National Weather Service predicts the heavy amounts of snow will drop along the southern to central Appalachians from the Tennessee/North Carolina border to West Virginia. And meteorologists estimate an accumulation of 4-to-9 inches of snow.
Kevin Wittington is the Watauga County Maintenance Engineer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation. He manages 600 miles of roadway in the Boone area. Wittington says two crews of 15 drivers and plows will be on the road for the next 24 hours. "The time this snow storm is coming in is the time when people are leaving to go home. And from what we understand it's going to come quickly and may be heavy at times. So we will concentrate on our primary routes in and out of Boone to keep traffic moving as much as we possibly can." Temperatures are expected to drop to around 22.
Meanwhile, employees at Blue Ridge Electric is operating on its snow plan and preparing for the storm. Public Relations Director Renee Whitener says customer service people are on 24 hour standby, while linemen are fueling trucks and checking tree cutting equipment in case the snow downs power lines. And to the company's 74,000 customers, she offers this advice. "Have non-perishable food on hand, matches, flash lights, batteries, blankets, sleeping bags, you want to have extra medicine on hand, if you have a baby you'll want to have extra formula. You may want to heat it up and keep it in thermoses just in case you are without power for a little while." Whitener says customers can track outages online at the company's website.
Across Forsyth County, 40 road crews are preparing for an estimated 3-to-5 inches of snow. David Spainhour is the North Carolina DOT Division Maintenance Engineer. He says if the snow falls slowly, it'll melt on contact. If it falls fast, Spainhour says it won't bond with the roads because they are still warm--a perfect condition for snow plows. "We'll use the plows all night long. And were we're concerned the most and when we'll use the salt is in the morning when the temperatures will be in the upper 20's and there will be black ice." The National Weather Service expects this storm to quickly move through our mountains and the Piedmont. Tomorrow, expect sunshine and warmer temperatures.