When many North Carolina residents think of the word “snowstorm,” the first thing that comes to their minds is the cataclysmic event that hit them 25 years ago. The Great Blizzard of 1993, or the ‘93 Superstorm, poured over 40 inches of snow on some areas of North Carolina.
From the week of Monday, Dec. 3 onward, residents began to worry about the word again, because Winter Storm Diego was in the forecast. Meteorologists had predicted from three inches to over two feet of snow in many regions of North Carolina, and Henderson County was predicted to get some of the highest amounts.
High levels of snowfall can lead to a variety of outcomes, one of which being icy roads. Schools typically are closed on such days to prevent students from driving on dangerous roads. West Henderson measures in hours of tuition rather than days attended, so, if possible, two or three-hour delays are called. Occasionally, students cannot reach the school campus due to the weather, and absences such as those can be waived by the school.
According to David Uchiyama, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) prepared for the storm by brining roadways with salt. Putting salt on the roads helps to prevent ice.
One potential hazard of Diego was structural damage. More than 200 homes were damaged in North Carolina in 1993, so many citizens were worried about the possibility of damage from this storm.
Snow that can cause damage to roofs can also topple power lines, leading to power outages. Many people prepare for snowstorms with propane tanks or generators. Duke Energy prepared a response system for their clientele. To report outages, clients could text “OUT” to 57801 or call 800-POWERON.
Among the United States workforce, electrical hazards cause more than 300 deaths annually. The highest fatality rate among those deaths are with power lines. The ground 35 feet away from downed power lines can be energized, and it is impossible to tell if a power line is still energized simply by looking at it.
In preparation for the impending storm, TC Roberson and Hendersonville High postponed the ACT, which was supposed to be administered on Saturday, Dec. 8.
Some areas in Henderson County ended up getting over a foot of snow from Winter Storm Diego, but nothing reached two feet. Combined with a lot of ice, the high amounts of snow led Henderson County Public Schools (HCPS) to cancel school from Monday, Dec. 10 to Friday, Dec. 14. Monday and Tuesday were annual leave days, and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were optional teacher workdays.
By: Elise Trexler, Web Editor-in-Chief, and Jose-Guadalupe Tinoco Hernandez, Feature Writer