Winter weather caught many Yadkin County residents by surprise on Friday afternoon as a wintry mix turned to thick wet flakes that coated roadways causing more than 15 wrecks in a short time period.
“From the time that the snow started sticking to the road, when the temperature dropped around lunch, we had quite a few wrecks up until most people got home from work,” said Yadkin County Emergency Services Director Keith Vestal. “We had wrecks ranging from just sliding off the road to roll over and pinned in, but nobody was hurt bad.”
Local weather reports were calling for some type of winter precipitation, but also warning snow lovers that they could be disappointed.
“The forecast, they missed it, so a lot of people got caught off guard. Nobody really thought we were going to get what we got. People went to work and they started seeing it and started to come home, but it was getting bad faster than they anticipated so they would slide into each other, bump up. It was just that it got colder faster and accumulated faster than we thought,” said Vestal.
Around 3,000 power outages also were reported throughout the county due to Friday’s storm, Vestal said. By Saturday, the roadways were clear, but many were still without power until Saturday evening.
Vestal said the sudden intensity of the storm should serve as a reminder to folks to be prepared for anything when it comes to winter weather. He said the best way to avoid a wreck in the winter weather is to stay at home. For situations when drivers must be on the road, he said it’s a good idea to have an emergency kit in the car with extra blankets, water and some non-perishable food. A fully-charged cell phone to call for help in the event of an accident is also a good idea.
On being prepared for power outages, Vestal said remember the phrase, “the first 72 is on you.”
“They need to be self-sufficient for the first 72 hours of an event, if it proceeds past that that’s when we’ll be to the rescue,” Vestal said.
In cases such as this past weekend, fire departments and rescue workers were inundated with downed trees and power lines and wreck calls. This is typically the case with most winter storms and residents should be prepared to weather the first 72 hours on their own while emergency workers deal with major emergencies. After 72 hours is when shelters and other operations begin to assist those still without power, Vestal said.
Vestal said despite the multiple wrecks and power outages over the weekend, the county as a whole weathered the storm fairly well, thanks in large part to the dedicated volunteers at the local fire departments.
”Our fire departments and our rescue squad are always there to the rescue and they saved the day,” Vestal said. “They worked themselves to death all day Friday and all night Friday into Saturday.”
Vestal said he hoped this would be the only winter storm to deal with, but as that is unlikely, he said he just hopes that residents will take necessary precautions for future winter weather events.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.