Snow, rain create treacherous conditions in Carter County

By Julie Fann
star staff
jfann@starhq.com

   On Roan Mountain Thursday afternoon Old Man Winter decided it wasn't quite time for him to make his exit, and rain throughout Carter County caused creeks to rise rapidly, creating some flooding in roadways and residences. By Thursday evening, Carter County Sheriff John Henson was getting just a bit concerned.
   "As the night goes on I look for us to have to do some evacuating, but that's only a prediction. We've got snow; we've got rain; we've got high water. If we get more snow or rain, it could be a problem. And I worry about when the snow melts," he said.
   Approximately 8 to 10 inches of snow had fallen on Roan Mountain by Thursday afternoon, making roads treacherous for travel. The Roan Mountain Medical Center closed its doors due to the dangerous conditions.
   "There was a small accident on Highway 19E about two miles from the state line, but no one was hurt. Roads are hazardous. It's been a very heavy, heavy snow laying on lines and trees," a fireman for the Roan Mountain Volunteer Fire Department reported.
   In the Biltmore Community, Elizabethton/Carter County Highway Department personnel had to remove debris that washed up against drain lines running underneath residential driveways and that caused flooding in the road. Henson said one house in the Biltmore Community and another on the old Bullocks Hollow Highway also experienced some flooding.
   In Hampton, waterways brimmed to the edge of grassy banks, and the water was beginning to block culverts. Hampton Volunteer Fire Chief Johnny Isaacs reported a house on Stout Hollow Road had flooded.
   "The rivers are almost to the point that if we get any more rain we could be in trouble," Isaacs said.
   Assistant Supervisor Douglas Miller of the Highway Department reported that crews in Roan Mountain, Simerly Creek, and Poga were pushing snow.
   "The only water problems we have is tile (piping) in sections of Siam, Valley Forge, Biltmore, and a little bit in sections of Cedar Grove. Nothing major in Stoney Creek, but a little up there. It flows into yards. We haven't had any blocked roads except in Willow Springs," Miller stated.
   Muddy creek water also rose along the Milligan Highway from the Creekside Cafe to Milligan College, and murky, brown water in the Doe River rushed underneath the Covered Bridge in Elizabethton.
   The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for Thursday night with 100 percent precipitation expected. Snow in elevations at or above 2,500 feet was expected to accumulate between five to 10 inches with temperatures in the mid 30s to lower 40s.
   Snow and rain are predicted to continue through Friday night, when temperatures will dip into the 30s.