A Wintry Welcome Season begins with a blanket of snow

Article Published: Dec. 23, 2009 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
A Wintry Welcome Season begins with a blanket of snow

Snow covered the roads across the High Country and roads like this one were hard to reach for scraping. Locals know that making your own path is sometimes the only way to get out of places like Ragan-Culler Road in Watauga County.

Photo by Rob Moore

Winter blew in right on time. As of Monday, the first official day of winter, the National Weather Service reported Boone snowfall totals of 16 inches while some Avery County locations as well as area ski slopes reported more than 20 inches.

The storm hit early Friday, which caused some delays in travel.

Traffic was limited due to icy conditions on U.S. 421 from Deep Gap to Wilkes County, and on N.C. 105 on the slope commonly referred to as Rock Crusher Hill and the uphill slope heading into Avery County.

Kevin Whittington, N.C. Department of Transportation maintenance engineer for Watauga County, said crews started treating the roads Friday morning, and continued around the clock into Monday.

As of 9 a.m., Whittington said the primary roads are cleared, while secondary paved roads and secondary unpaved roads are still partially covered with snow and ice.

The snow was unique in that it was deep and a heavy, wet snow, Whittington said.

According to the DOT, the snowstorm required about 1,000 tons of salt in Watauga County and about 700 in Avery.

The smaller DOT trucks were unable to push the snow, causing delays in reaching the secondary roads. Whittington said the DOT employed several fully-operated rental equipment to assist in clearing the roads.

"We want to thank the motorists and people of Watauga County for their patience as we work to clear the roads," Whittington said.

The snow closed all of Watauga County schools and Appalachian State University on Monday. Watauga County schools will also be closed on Tuesday but will be an optional teacher work-day.
Schools will reopen on Jan. 4 instead of Jan 5.

The holiday/snow day program will open at 8 a.m. Monday and 7:30 Tuesday at Hardin Park Elementary. Exams will begin at Watauga High School on Jan. 5.

ASU is closed on Monday as employees work to clear snow and ice.

While the main roads through campus are passable, most parking lots and sidewalks remain covered.

The physical plant employees have been working around the clock on snow removal and will work through Monday to allow the university to reopen Tuesday.

As of Monday morning, the women's home basketball game at 5 p.m. versus Furman will still be held at the Holmes Convocation Center. Game updates will be posted at http://www.goasu.com.

The National Weather Service is predicting dry and seasonable weather through Wednesday before another storm system approaches on Christmas Eve. The report indicates this system will be a mixed precipitation event and likely become mostly rain by Christmas Day.

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