Snow hits region hard for second time

Almost 40,000 customers were without power after a storm that dumped more than a half of foot of snow across Western North Carolina last Saturday, Jan. 30 for the second time this winter. According to Cullowhee Weather Service, Western Carolina University received 8 inches of snow after the white powder began falling on Friday afternoon.

Moisture from the Gulf coast on the wings of a strong low-pressure system collided at the start of the weekend with cold air sweeping down from the north to cause the winter blast according to National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Krentz . And like the Dec. 18 storm that dumped nearly a foot of snow across the region, a dramatic upward shearing of winds in the atmosphere created the high accumulations.

“This storm had some of the same features as the one in December,” Krentz said. “It hit the Gulf and then just increased the amount of moisture. We got a lot of moisture and a lot of lift. There was also a deep upward motion. When that happens you can get a lot of precipitation.”

As a result of the snow, 15,000 customers in Jackson County lost power at the height of the storm according to Duke Energy.

“We had about half of our Nantahala service region out,” said Tom Williams, a Duke Energy spokesman. 

About 100 workers were in the area restoring power over the entire weekend, but it was impossible to say when power would be restored to all, Williams said. Most should have had their power restored by Tuesday.

 “Hopefully, as we bring on major circuits, we’ll have a lot of customers come back on.”

Western Carolina University moved up the women’s basketball game versus Georgia Southern on Saturday as a result of the snow and possible ice on Saturday night and many campus schedules programs were postponed or cancelled altogether. Most business were also closed over the weekend, though some restaurants such as Nick and Nates in Sylva, who ran on half power Saturday afternoon, serviced customers.