Winter weather brings snow and cold temperatures

Some cancellations, delays
Jan. 29, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

Young school students in the grocery store Tuesday afternoon were skeptical of a significant amount of snow coming to Rutherford County. But Nathan Hoyle of Forest City said even if it was a little bit of snow, it would be fun.

Other youngsters were seen leaving the store with large plastic sleds under their arms ready for a snow day.

Adults were busy shopping for items such as bread and milk before the snow made going to the store questionable.

Sandra Mayse stood by as her granddaughter selected a movie from the RedBox for entertainment Tuesday evening.

 "I have no idea how this works," Mayse said watching carefully.

The National Weather Service predicted one to three inches of snow for areas in Rutherford County before 11 p.m. on Tuesday.

 With a low temperature of 17 degrees predicted, most of what was on the roads at midnight would likely freeze. There is a warm up expected today of 33 degrees and sunny skies.

School closings for Wednesday were expected to be announced late Tuesday.

Rutherford County Schools dismissed at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m .and the charter schools were released at 12 p.m. in Forest City, Avondale and Lake Lure on Tuesday as the winter weather arrived earlier than expected.

School staffs wanted to make sure all children got home safely before there was problems on roads. 

Some county operations closed early Tuesday including the Rutherford County Senior Center, the convenience centers closed at 5 p.m. and the Library Board of Directors meeting for Tuesday night was cancelled.

Superior Court  was cancelled for Wednesday for anyone scheduled for trial and the prospective jurors, said Clerk of Court Robynn Spence. Names of the jurors will go back into the system. 

Crews with the Department of Transportation (DOT) in Spindale prepared all the trucks for the weather Tuesday morning and by the afternoon trucks were on the highways, earlier than they first expected.

"We will have our trucks on the road as soon as the snow beings to fall," Matt Taylor, maintenance director at DOT said. They were on the roads by 2 p.m.

"Basically we're doing the same things we normally do to make sure our snow equipment is ready,"  Taylor said. "Everyone is making sure the trucks are ready," Taylor said.

Snow and ice removal was ongoing in every county in NCDOT’s Division 13 on Tuesday. The division includes Rutherford, Buncombe, Burke, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell and Yancey counties.

Some DOT crews in western North Carolina left respective home counties to travel to the eastern part of the state where the winter storm was expected to dump two to eight inches of snow with eight to 14 inches of snow possible for portions of northeastern North Carolina.

Taylor said three drivers and three DOT trucks from the Spindale office have gone to the eastern part of the state. DOT still has 21 trucks available for Rutherford County roads.

Gov. Pat McCrory issued a State of Emergency Tuesday afternoon before the worst of the storm arrived. 

Travelers were asked not to call 911 or the State Highway Patrol for road conditions. 

Also preparing for the winter storm were Rutherford Electric Membership Corporation and Duke Energy. 

 “The state’s electric cooperatives are carefully monitoring this winter weather system and are prepared for possible power outages,” said Jane Pritchard, director of corporate communications for the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives in a statement.  Power outages can occur when ice accumulates on power lines or when heavy wet snow causes tree branches to droop or break onto lines.

According to a news release, Duke Energy was bracing for the rare coastal ice storm and customers were advised to prepare for possible extended power outages.

Duke Energy moved an additional 300 responders from areas less likely to experience power outages to the coastal areas to assist with outage restoration.

“Storms are unpredictable. Until we are confident in the storm’s path and its impact to our customers, we will keep an appropriate number of resources in our communities throughout the Carolinas to assist with restoration efforts prior to moving them to other areas,” said Jeff Corbett, senior vice president of Duke Energy’s Carolinas Delivery Operations, in the release.

Customers who experience an outage should call Duke Energy’s automated outage-reporting systems for their respective utility: 1-800-POWERON (1-800-769-3766).