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GOOD NEWS (SO FAR): Light wind, no ice

A pickup travels on Greenville Highway after 8 inches of snow covered the ground in Flat Rock. A pickup travels on Greenville Highway after 8 inches of snow covered the ground in Flat Rock.

Emergency officials have two words of advice as the big snowstorm socked Henderson County: Stay home.

“Unless it’s absolutely necessary don’t get on the road,” said Maj. Frank Stout with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office. “We don’t need to be dealing with people out joyriding and having accidents that get in the way of emergency services or are blocking the roadway so DOT do their job.”

DOT crews had made good progress clearing major roads like I-26 and U.S. 74, roads were still covered with a layer of packed snow. The U.S. 25 Connector to Greenville was closed in South Carolina, as was the Saluda Grade.

“We’re encouraging people to stay off the roads to let DOT do the work they need to do to get the significant snowfall off the road,” he said. “The main road they’ve hit. As they get those knocked out they’re trying to go to secondary roads. They can do the job a lot more quickly and efficient if they don’t have to plow around cars.”

Emergency Management Director Rocky Hyder issued an advisory Friday morning showing that the county could get 7.2 inches more snow by midnight and 2.1 inches early Saturday before tapering off. The NWS model had been accurate on the time of arrival for the snowstorm, he said, if slightly high on the overall accumulation.

"The good thing about this event is I think people have heeded the warnings and everybody that could is pretty much staying in," Hyder said. "Traffic's been pretty light. The other good thing is even though we've got an icy mix I don't see it sticking to the trees, the evergreens, which is an advantage. They removed all the ice aspects of it earlier today. ... If people continue to heed that (stay home advice) I think everything will go very well."

"Closing the gate" to Henderson County in Polk County has helped eliminate traffic problems, he added.

For all the snow accumulation — as much as 22 inches in some areas was forecast — winterstorm Jonas as of Friday posed fewer hazards than many of its legendary predecessor. The "Storm of the Century" in March 1993 stranded motorists and homeowners, caused deep drifts and led to National Guard help. An ice storm causes widespread power outages and even more hazardous conditions than a foot and a half of snow. On Friday winds were light and the snow and icy mix was for the most part not coating tree limbs.

The high today was expected to be 27 with up to 11 inches of snow piling up followed by 3 to 7 inches tonight, the National Weather Service.

The county emergency management office had shelter teams on standby but as of Friday morning had no need to open one. Earlier Friday, sheriff’s deputies in four-wheel drive vehicles helped some doctors and nurses get to work. Earlier, too, deputies helped stranded motorists get off the highway. By mid morning everyone had been rescued, Stout said.

"The shelter at the American Red Cross is avaialbe with a phone call," Hyder said, "and we have two others on stand by just in case there's a need for it."

Duke Energy crews, with the assistance of its contractors and personnel from as far away as Texas, were staged and ready to begin restoring outages as quickly and safely as possible on Friday. While outages are occurring throughout the company's Carolinas service territory, meteorologists believe the worst is yet to come, Duke Energy said in a news release.

Duke Energy is closely monitoring the situation as a combination of snow, sleet and freezing rain continues to fall across the Carolinas and many parts of the Southeast.

In addition to the company's more than 3,200 line and tree workers and contractors, about 3,600 personnel from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi,Indiana, Oklahoma, Michigan and Texas began arriving Thursday in Raleigh, Charlotte, Asheville and in the Greenville-Spartanburg area. Crews will continue to arrive in the Carolinas over the next few days and will be deployed as outages occur.

While the full impact of the winter storm may not be known for some time, Duke Energy urged customers to be prepared for the potential of an extended outage. The company urged customers to:

 *   Check supplies of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods, medicines, etc.
 *   Ensure a portable, battery-operated radio, TV or NOAA weather radio is on hand.
 *   Avoid heating homes with a gas grill or bringing a generator inside. Such equipment should be operated only outdoors, and only in well-ventilated areas. Manufacturer instructions should be followed.
 *   Check on family members, friends and neighbors who have special medical needs or who are elderly, to ensure they have necessary emergency supplies.
 *   Determine now what action they would take in the event of an extended power outage.

The National Weather Service nailed the forecast this time.

“The precipitation’s going to start this evening as rain and maybe a little bit of a wintry mix,” forecaster Jake Wimberley said Thursday night. “Then it will be midway through the evening around the 1 a.m. time frame before it changes to snow. That snow will continue through tomorrow and tomorrow tonight and early Saturday morning. It’s going to start to taper off a little bit but could you see snow showers through out the day on Saturday. Most accumulation will be tonight and tomorrow.”

The heaviest snowfall will be late tonight and during the day tomorrow. Areas north of Hendersonville to Fletcher may see 16 inches with a greater amount — 19 to 20 inches — along the Blue Ridge escarpment — the southern and eastern parts of the county — in the northeastern part of the county.
“In general,” he added, “the forecast calls for 16 to 20 inches. We’re pretty confident that this is going to be a heavy snowfall event.”
The good news is that the chance of ice is minimal.
“It looks like the warm air that we would need above the surface to get ice is not going to reach Henderson County,” he said.
Once it gets down to 28 tonight, the temperature will stay there, the NWS says. That’s also the projected high on Friday when the heavy snowfall continues. Saturday should warm up to 30. It’ll be Sunday before we see sunny skies and a high of 42 as the snowmelt starts. Monday should be mostly sunny with a high of 46.

So far high winds have not been caused snowdrift or downed-tree problems. Winds were expected to stay around 8-9 mph today kicking up to wind gusts of up to 25 mph on Saturday. Hyder said he did not expect that to pose a problem.

"It's not going to drift a lot," he said. "I don't expect it to be a 1993 type snow drift where you had 6 feet. You might get 2 to 3 feet of snowdrift. ... I think a 40-degree day with some sun on Sunday will improve travel conditions considerably. You'll have a few icy patches in shady areas but for most part roads will be clear on Monday with a warning for black ice.

 The city of Hendersonville was applying salt to roads, scheduling snowplow crews and preparing to respond to emergencies.


Public Works Department

The department will continue to apply brine to high priority streets; which includes bridges, steep hills, around emergency and government facilities, high traffic areas, and the hospital.  “Public Works will bring in the A team around midnight to 3 am and work a 12 hour shift, B team will come in and relieve A team after the first 12 hours.  B team will work a 12 hour shift.  We expect to continue this schedule well into Saturday, possible longer.  Once the streets are open, we will keep one crew working to remedy slick spots.”- Tom Wooten, Public Works Director
 
Public Works plans to postpone brush collection for Friday January 22nd.  They will proceed with garbage and recycling collection on a regular schedule for Friday.  Brush collection will continue on Monday, if possible.  
 
For questions about any of these plans, please call Tom Wooten at (828) 697-3084.


 
Police Department


The Police Department has brought in Four Wheel Drive vehicles and will be using those during the storm. If the storm is severe they will be working with Emergency Management to assist in transporting to shelters or any evacuation needs.

Water & Sewer Department


 
“We are currently ensuring that all water tanks are filled and that all pump stations and generators are operating properly.  The water plants will make arrangements for our operators to sleep, if they need to remain at the plant throughout the event.  The other field operations groups are topping off trucks and equipment with fuel and will be on stand-by to help where ever they are needed," said Lee Smith, Director of Water and Sewer
 
Fire Department:
The Fire Department will staff four additional personnel on Friday and Saturday.  “A determination will be made today if additional personnel are needed tonight from 8:00 p.m. till 8:00 a.m.  Our staff has checked the generators, chainsaws, refueled all apparatus, and have the snow chains ready. We have also contacted Public Works to ensure the Fire Stations are continually plowed and/or brined," said Joe Vindigni, Interim Fire Chief.
 
“With the safety and concern of our citizens and employees foremost in our minds we are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best with the predicted forecast," said John Connet, City Manager.
 
For additional updates please check the city website at cityofhendersonville.org or our Facebook page- NC Government City of Hendersonville.  For questions or concerns you can also call City Hall at 828-697-3000 or for non-emergencies the Hendersonville Police Department at 828-697-3025.

Pardee Hospital announced that many clinics would be closed Friday including the Pardee Family Medicine offices of Dr. Walker, Dr. Moffitt, Dr. Merrell, Mills River Family Health Center, Etowah Family Practice, and Pardee Fletcher Medical Associates. In addition, the following specialty practices and hospital services will be closed:

Cardiopulmonary Rehab - Fletcher and Hendersonville

Pardee Rehab and Wellness Center - Hendersonville

  • Pardee Internal Medicine Associates

  • Pardee OB/GYN Associates, Hendersonville and Fletcher
    Pardee Center for Gynecology
    Carolina Lung and Sleep at Pardee
    Diabetes and Endocrine Associates
    Perspectives Diabetes Program
    Pardee Urological Associates
    Pardee Neurology Associates
    Hendersonville Orthopedics at Pardee
    Pardee Surgical Associates
    Vascular Surgery at Pardee
    Pardee Spine Center
    Rheumatology at Pardee
    Hendersonville Hematology and Oncology at Pardee
    Cancer Services at Pardee
    Pardee Imaging Center
    The Kayden Center
    Outpatient Radiology
    Comprehensive Wound Healing Center
    Home Health
    Signature Care Center
    Sports Medicine
    Human Resources
    The Garden Cafe
    Summit Cafe
    Gift Shop

 


            The Lab draw station in the main lobby will be open at 8 a.m. and will close at noon on Friday, Jan. 22. Southeastern Sports Medicine and Orthopedic clinics at Pardee, both in Waynesville and at the Mission Pardee Health Campus in Arden, will open at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 22. Please check with Pardee Outpatient Rehabilitation at Turtle Creek for hours; the rehab clinic will make a decision Friday morning.

            The Emergency Department at Pardee will remain open and the Urgent Care in both Hendersonville and Fletcher will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please check pardeehospital.org for additional updates.