ASHE COUNTY — During this past weekend, people across the county were able to witness the first snowstorm of the year. In the early hours of Jan. 8, snow began to fall over the county and left some elevations with nearly 10 inches.
Residents from West Jefferson reported up to 8 inches while some in Fleetwood reported 6 inches. The most snow reported was 10 inches in Clifton.
Though the blanket of snow was a beautiful sight, it came with dangerous conditions.
A number of wrecks occurred in the area, one in particular being fatal.
On Jan. 8, at approximately 8:30 a.m., the NC State Highway Patrol responded to a fatal collision in Ashe County on NC 16 near Shatley Road.
A 2001 Ford Ranger was traveling north on NC 16, ran off the road to the left, traveled down an embankment, and overturned, according to a NC Highway Patrol release.
The driver, David Oscar Osbourne, 74, of Mouth of Wilson, Va., succumbed to his injuries at the scene. There were no passengers. Osbourne was not restrained by a seatbelt.
The initial investigation does not indicate impairment to be a contributing factor and it was snowing at the time of the crash.
Patty Gambill, executive management coordinator of the County of Ashe, encouraged people to remember to be safe in winter weather situations.
“Responding to multiple vehicle accidents, including one with a fatality, was the most significant issue for emergency services organizations. When roads are hazardous we encourage people to stay off the roads if possible to avoid putting themselves and responders at risk,” said Gambill.
Gambill expressed how the office of emergency management is readily prepared for conditions such as these.
“Snowfall is something we expect in the wintertime and for which we have plans in place to address. Thankfully there were limited power outages and for the most part residents sheltered in place and prepared for the storm by ensuring necessities such as food and medicines were on hand,” Gambill said.
Renee Whitener, director of public relations of Blue Ridge Energy stated that despite the stormy weather, there was only one outage reported. Around 4:52 p.m., three blue ridge energy members were impacted for just over an hour near Old Highway 16.
“With the weather forecast calling for up to eight inches of heavy, wet snow, we could have had a much worse situation,” said Whitener.”Significant accumulation of that type of snow can weigh heavily on trees and limbs, causing them to fall into power lines. If high winds are involved, it adds to the threat.”
Whitener expressed that power reliability is their main goal and that their vegetation management program helps prevent many outages. Their line technicians are always working to maintain the electric system.
”They’re trained to respond, any hour of the day and night, to restore power as quickly as possible when an outage does occur,” Whitener said.
While no wreck reports have been recorded by the Department of Public Safety at this time, the community has been active on social media, informing groups of wrecks and road conditions.
The people of Ashe have encouraged one another to stay safe and warm during this winter weather.
On the Ashe Post & Times Facebook page, many individuals reached out to share their photos of the snow over the weekend.