“Winter Storm Iago” is moving into southern Appalachia this afternoon, and storm warnings and school closings are in effect.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the area in effect until 1:00 a.m. EST Friday. Accumulations of five to nine inches are predicted, with up to one foot on the high mountains.
The NWS advises travel will be dangerous. Only travel in an emergency.
Winds will be northwest 10-20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. Temperatures will be upper 20s to lower 30s.
Ashe County Schools will be closing early, with elementary schools closing at 1:15, middle school at 1:30 and the high school at 1:45. Should there not be any school Friday, the day will be made up Jan. 21, according to ACS’s Website.
The Department of Transportation has had snow plows standing by since this morning in preparation for the storm.
Employees of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation are on high alert and monitoring severe winter weather predicted to bring snow and high winds to the cooperative’s service in the mountains and foothills of northwest North Carolina.
The fastest, most efficient way to report an outage is by calling the cooperative’s PowerLine at 1-800-448-2383. Cooperative employees are on standby, ready to respond in full force at any time of the day or night should outages occur.
Have the following supplies on hand, preferably in a central location that each member of the household can locate quickly if needed:
-Flashlights and fresh batteries
-Matches with firewood and kindling or
-A grill with extra propane charcoal and lighter fluid
-Radio with fresh batteries to listen to weather and news reports
-Extra blankets, sleeping bags, quilts
-Oil lamps and extra oil
-Wind-up or battery operated clock
-Manual can opener
-Paper plates and plastic utensils
-Bottled water or gallon jugs filled with water for drinking and cooking
-Formula and extra diapers for babies
-Thermos for keeping drinks and baby formula warm
-Emergency numbers such as Blue Ridge Electric’s PowerLine, local emergency management, police and hospital contacts.
Additionally, if you require a regular medication, be sure to keep extra supplies on hand. If you or a family member requires oxygen, it’s a good idea to have a back-up power source and a personal emergency plan that includes family, friends or local emergency management sources to assist you if needed.
As a safety reminder, Blue Ridge Electric reminds the public that downed power lines can still be energized and therefore dangerous or even deadly!
Stay far away from downed power lines—no one except a trained line technician should ever handle a downed power line. If you see a downed line, please report the location immediately to Blue Ridge Electric by calling any local district office or 1-800-451-5474.
For checking outage status, Blue Ridge Electric provides an online outage map on their website at www.BlueRidgeEMC.com. The cooperative also provides information during widespread outages its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/blueridgeemc and Twitter page at www.twitter.com/blueridgeemc.
The Weather Channel started naming winter storms this season and giving them an index rating. According to their Website: “our goal is to better communicate the threat and the timing of the significant impacts that accompany these events. The fact is, a storm with a name is easier to follow, which will mean fewer surprises and more preparation.
The naming system has not been officially adopted by the any other weather services, networks or meteorologists as a whole.