Tomorrow never knows: WNC disasters past, present and future

Even as the holidays come barreling toward us, some folks around the globe fear the mythical planet Nibiru may be doing the same and will trigger some unspecified cataclysm on Dec. 21. Notwithstanding the supposed end of the Mayan calendar, however, local agencies seem focused on preparing for more realistic potential threats. Although it may not be the end of the world, Western North Carolina does remain vulnerable to a wide range of natural and human-made catastrophes, including floods, blizzards, fires and even nuclear accidents.


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 […]

Asheville City Council

Fresh from a weekend retreat where they outlined priorities for the coming year, Asheville City Council members bulled their way through a host of topics at the Jan. 24 formal session. Two new residential proposals — including a downtown high-rise condominium development — sailed through the approval process, greased by design details that Council found […]