• Downtown Bakersville Saturday morning
    Downtown Bakersville Saturday morning

County spared from worst of winter storm that blankets South in inches of snow, ice

Winter Storm Helena this past weekend dumped a mess of snow in Mitchell County and across the South. 

Light snow spread across parts of the southern Plains and Mid-South and a heavier swath of snow developed late on Jan. 6 and continued into Jan. 7 from the north Georgia mountains into western and northern North Carolina and southern Virginia, according to weather.com.

Sleet totals in North Carolina reached a high of 2 inches near Falls Lake and snow totals ranged from 12 inches in Mt. Airy and near Norlina to a little more than an inch in Charlotte and a half-inch in Raleigh.

A detailed map on weather.com showed Mitchell and surrounding counties experiencing snowfall between 6 and 8 inches.

Following the storm was a plunge of some of the coldest air of the season. Lows the morning of Jan. 8 dipped into the teens, rendering salt relatively useless for treating icy roads.

Gov. Roy Cooper said Saturday morning crews responded to 260 accidents and 462 calls for service on state roads since the storm began.

“If I tell you anything, it would be – stay home,” Cooper said after the storm. “This weather event is not over. We’ve lost too many lives recently from people driving in dangerous conditions.”

Power outages in North Carolina were around 25,000, but dropped to around 2,400 by Saturday, according to a release from the Cooper’s office. 

At the state’s major airports, crews worked to keep runways and planes operating as the snow and sleet fell. Most airlines canceled flights through mid-Saturday morning at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, while more than 100 flights were canceled in the morning hours at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, according to FlightAware.

A college basketball game between the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University scheduled for Saturday was postponed until 1 p.m. Sunday because of the storm.

Cooper declared a State of Emergency for all 100 counties in North Carolina ahead of the storm, which had already forced nearly all inauguration ceremonies for Cooper and Council of State members to either be canceled or altered.

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
Fax: 828-765-1616