An early season snow is combining with gusty winds to cause power outages, road closures and other adverse impacts across the South.
At the peak of the snow, tens of thousands of people were without power in South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia According to weather.com senior meteorologist Jonathan Erdman, the unique combination of snow, wind and the time of year is contributing to these power outages.
“The end of October/start of November is typically near the peak time of year for fall foliage in the southern Appalachians and adjacent piedmont,” said Erdman.
“Trees with leaves have an increased surface area with which to catch accumulating snow, compared to those whose leaves have already fallen. Throw strong winds into the equation, and you have a recipe for downed limbs and trees that can fall onto power lines and cause power outages. The force of wind plus wet snow can also down power lines, leading to additional outages.”
And road closures were also reported across the region. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) reported that all lanes on I-40 were closed for roughly 15 miles in Haywood County “due to multiple vehicle accidents and inclement weather.” The closure lasted for multiple hours, but as of 2 p.m. EDT, NCDOT tweeted that the stretch of I-40 had been cleared and traffic was once again moving in the area.
Here are the latest power outages and other reports from multiple southern states experiencing snow this weekend:
The state’s two utility companies were reporting that more than 26,000 people were without power across the state just before 10 a.m. local time, during the peak impacts from the storm. By late afternoon, those outages still applied to more than 6,200 customers across the state. The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) said that all lanes were closed on a stretch of I-20 near Calks Ferry Road after trucks couldn’t make it up a hill in the area, but the stretch of I-20 has since reopened.
The state’s utility providers report that around 5,240 people remain without power. There were more than 7,000 people without power during the peak of power outages.
All of the roads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, were closed Saturday due to treacherous slick conditions. WBIR reports that park rangers also evacuated campers over fears that trees could come crashing down on campsites.
North Carolina utility providers are also reporting more than 8,500 customers are without power across the state as of 4 p.m. local time.
Georgia Power reported that more than 10,000 customers were without power across the state during the peak impacts of the storm. As of late afternoon, power outages across the state had dropped to a little more than 6,600 customers. A large portion of those outages were located in the Atlanta metro area, where gusts exceeding 40 mph were reported, downing limbs and trees onto power lines.