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Weather Hazard: An Upper Low moving across our WNC Mountains, coupled with Hurricane Joaquin will produce heavy rain and wind gusts in Haywood County.  From now through Monday morning communities south of Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Clyde and Canton can expect about 10” of rain, while the municipalities and northern communities can expect about 7” of rain.  Wind gusts of 20-30mph are possible, with the highest gusts over our mountain tops.

Expected Vulnerabilities

  • Trees down
  • Power Outages 
  • Intermittent flash flooding in low lying areas along rivers and streams
  • Possible debris flows in drainages and particularly in areas with disturbed and exposed soils where rainfall may accumulate.

Recommended Actions

  • Everyone should maintain close contact with ever changing weather conditions.
  • Be aware of potential hazards around your home, work place and travel paths.
  • Stay away from flooding water and wear a personal flotation device when operating nearby.
  • Be prepared for extended periods of power outages.  Do not call 911 for power outages, call the appropriate power company.
  • The majority of fatalities associated with flash flooding are due to attempting to drive through standing water.  Even shallow moving water can make tires a flotation device!  2 feet of water can float a 3000lb car.
  • Rapidly moving water and debris can lead to trauma.
  • Broken electrical, water, gas and sewer lines can result in severe injuries.
  • Look for tilted trees, poles, fences, walls and holes on hillsides.
  • Be extra cautious at night when it is harder to see flood dangers.
  • Emergency Agencies- Travel around your communities, make a list of potentially hazardous areas and/or vulnerable citizens.  Provide them with good preparedness advice.
  • Extra staffing of all agencies will be helpful.
  • All swift-water rescue teams on standby, once the team leaders have an inventory and roster, share your numbers with the 911 Communications Center.
  • Emergency Management staff will be on duty throughout the weekend.  Call the non-emergency line to 911 Communications to speak with them.
  • Ensure shelter teams are on standby and prepared.  IF activated, the location is our HHS facility (Old Walmart) on Paragon Parkway.
  • NCDOT and municipalities should continue ensuring all culverts; ditches and storm water systems are clear of debris and open.  Maintain emergency access of all highways, streets and roads for emergency egress and ingress.

fr emergencyHaywood County convened an emergency joint conference Friday to ensure response readiness in the event of flooding or mudslides triggered by the heavy rain expected over the next three days.

SEE ALSO: Public advised to take precautions, be alert

fr jaxlandslideJackson became the first North Carolina county to take landslide mapping into its own hands when the board of commissioners voted unanimously to fund the $143,000 project last week.

fr landslidemappingFour years after a state landslide mapping project for Jackson County was axed midstream, the commissioners are moving toward a vote to fund the work out of county coffers.

A lawsuit casting blame for a massive landslide in Maggie Valley four years ago was settled at the 11th hour last week.

A jury pool had been called in, a judge seated on the bench and attorneys on both sides were lined up in preparation for a trial that was two years in the making.

But a last-minute out-of-court settlement was reached between the parties and the jury sent back home.

The suit was filed by a couple whose home was in the path of the landslide. They claimed an extensive retaining wall that snaked a few hundred feet across the face of the mountain at Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park collapsed, triggering the landslide. The couple sued the engineers and builders of the wall, along with the former owners of Ghost Town, for damages.

The settlement has not yet been filed in court. See next week’s issue of The Smoky Mountain News for more on the outcome.

fr landslideA lawsuit casting blame for a massive landslide in Maggie Valley four years ago is headed to a jury trial in Haywood County this week.

A couple whose home was in the path of the landslide have sued a bevy of parties they claim are responsible.

Landslide hazard maps for the Wayehutta Creek watershed in the Cullowhee area of Jackson County were unveiled recently. The mapping is a baby step toward the much loftier goal of assessing the landslide risk for all the steep slopes in the county — a goal that is currently unfunded in Jackson.

The survey provides a topographical look at the watershed. It provides an inventory of potential slides and areas where slides have occurred.

fr landslideTo Jenifer Bauer, the conditions couldn’t be better for a hike. It’s cold and soggy. There’s no leaves left, nothing green at all on the forest floor save the rhododendrons and mountain laurels. Even the views are dreary and gray, leaving nothing better to look at than the ground beneath her feet.

Mitigating the deadly and damaging effects of mountain landslides might be as simple as understanding them.

fr landslidehomelessFor more than a month, 25-year-old Slyenia Rhein and her three children lived in a single hotel room with her mother, her father, her sister, a dog and a cat.

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This Must Be the Place

Reading Room

  • A tribute to the Lord of Scaly Mountain
    A tribute to the Lord of Scaly Mountain While it is difficult to write objectively yet critically about someone whom you know personally or about a book whose subject matter and/or authors are familiar, sometimes necessity is more than the mother of invention and you have to do things you normally or ethically…
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