Asheville area readies for winter storm ***UPDATED 9 a.m.***

Asheville area readies for winter storm ***UPDATED 9 a.m.***-attachment0

TUESDAY, OCT. 30: Post-tropical cyclone Sandy made landfall Monday night near Atlantic City, N.J. Heavy rains, flooding, downed trees and millions without power mark the storm’s effect on the East Coast.

In Western North Carolina, Madison and other mountain counties report snowfall this morning. The Leicester area of Buncombe County reports 3 inches of snow in some locations, according to the National Weather Service. The unofficial snow tally notes 3 inches of snow in Haywood County, and 4 inches in both Transylvania and Mitchell County. Parts of Madison County may have 6 inches. Many mountain-county schools are closed and others delayed opening this morning.

The Winter Storm Warning remains in effect through Wednesday morning.

MONDAY, OCT. 29:
The Asheville area is readying for heavy snow, one consequence of Sandy, the massive storm currently battering the East Coast. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the whole area, including Buncombe County, until 6 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31.

The NWS’ map predicts about 2.6 inches in Buncombe County, with snow picking up late this afternoon, though the warning notes that “total snow accumulations, and how much falls in valley locations, will continue to depend on the exact track of Sandy and the associated moisture.” Hazards include “heavy snow as well as periods of low visibility, falling temperatures causing treacherous road conditions.”

Monday afternoon, Gov. Bev Perdue officially declared a state of emergency throughout the 24 counties of WNC in anticipation of the coming storm.

According to spokesperson Dawa Hitch, the city of Asheville is ready for snow.

“City Staff will continue to monitor the storm, making normal preparations for a snow event throughout the course of the day,” she writes to Xpress. “At this time, equipment is being fitted for snow fighting purposes. There will be a night crew on duty tonight to monitor and treat roads.”

Buncombe County Emergency Services Director Jerry VeHaun says he’s in “wait and see mode.”

“We’re trying to figure out what it’s going to do,” VeHaun tells Xpress. “We’ve been getting information from the state emergency management organization, but so far it’s all over the board. They’re talking about wind, they’re still talking about some snow — maybe 2 inches — but so far we don’t know when or what.”

VeHaun added that crews are prepared to deal with snow, and that the county doesn’t have any closures to announce yet.

Right now, the city plans to continue its normal hours and services tomorrow.

The NWS warning advises against travel unless an emergency.

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