Haywood digs out

Storm dumps up to a foot of heavy, wet snow across county
By Staff reports | Feb 13, 2014
Photo by: Vicki Hyatt Main Street through downtown Waynesville was closed Thursday morning for snow removal efforts.

While up to a foot of snow fell overnight across Haywood County, emergency services, maintenance crews, water/sewer workers, firefighters and police officers worked around-the-clock to keep the county safe.

Luckily, there were no widespread power outages as some had feared, and most people were home or off the roads before the worst of the storm hit. The storm walloped the entire state, and N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory's state of emergency message urged people to stay home. In Haywood County, municipal government offices closed early Wednesday and didn't reopen Thursday.

Many businesses remained closed, too. In downtown Waynesville the isolated open storefront was the unusual sight as the street remained closed for snow removal. Those businesses open were doing a fair business. The Pioneer Restaurant in Clyde was filled, and gas stations appeared to be doing a fair business.

Street and road crews worked steadily through the storm and after to clear the roads. There were few wrecks and some minor issues, but nothing that wasn’t handled quickly said Greg Shuping, emergency management director for the county.

“There was an unbelievable effort of emergency services and shelter workers, road clearing crews from many agencies to provide the safety we have afforded here.We have done much worse and it has been much less impressive in times past than this week,” he said.

Only one person stayed the night at the emergency shelter that was set up at Haywood County Department of Social Services for those who may have lost power and needed a warm place to stay.

That was great news and another testament to the hard work that all emergency service agencies and power companies put in last night, Shuping added.

“We open up the shelter and our biggest hope is that nobody will need to come,” he said.

There was one call for an emergency search for someone who was lost somewhere near the Blue Ridge Parkway, however the issue was taken care of before search crews even assembled, he said.

Now that the storm has passed, emergency management and maintenance crews must shift their focus on making the roads passable.

Shuping said the best thing for people to do is stay at home Thursday and Friday.

“This is where we run into problems — people think the snow has stopped so everything is all right, but this is the time when public works and DOT have to get the roads clear. It delays the recovery effort another day every time we have to stop and deal with people who don’t follow directions,” Shuping said.

The best advice he could offer is to urge people to stay home and enjoy the snow day.

“Go home, spend time with your family, eat Campbell’s chicken noodle soup and hug your kids,” Shuping said.