Blowing town

It was the first week of September—the worst time for hurricanes—and like a human barometer, Aaron Funk was feeling the pressure. His disaster-relief organization, American Rainbow Rapid Response, was all packed and ready to go feed storm victims. The trouble was, he wasn’t sure yet where those services were needed. Hurricane Gustav had washed ashore […]

Weathering the storm

They were on full alert in the building just off City/County Plaza that houses Asheville’s Police and Fire departments. Preparing for the worst, extra staff was on board, equipment was at the ready, and the Emergency Operations Command Center had its supplemental communications systems fired up. In short, both departments were on standby for disaster. […]


Black Mountain resident Harry Hamil was alarmed. According to new flood maps released by the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety in October, a 100-year flood would place much of his property at 151 Ridgeway Ave. underwater. River rising: New flood maps suggest that Ingles’ Swannanoa distribution center is at greater risk of […]

Sleeping giant

Jim Augins was thinking about his yarn. In the first week of September 2004, when The Weather Channel and local newscasts were making dire predictions about the possibility that Hurricane Frances might ride the spine of the Blue Ridge north, Augins took heed.

Buncombe’s plan for the worst

“Mass casualty event.” “Decontamination action guidelines.” “Emergency mortuary plan.” Not exactly light lunchtime topics. But such sobering terminology is common at Buncombe County’s Department of Emergency Services, which is charged with coordinating the county’s response to disasters both natural and human-made. Among the department’s duties is compiling a comprehensive emergency-operations plan—a hefty document containing a […]