Winter Storm Izzy blankets Highlands in snow

Snow from Winter Storm Izzy covered Highlands late on Saturday, Jan. 16 and into the following day transforming the Plateau into a winter wonderland.

Pictured below is a glimpse of Highlands during Winter Storm Izzy on Sunday, Jan. 17.

Town officials, law enforcement, and emergency services warned the community of the impending storm and prepared for the worst.

An aerial view looking down Main Street on Jan. 17. Sunset Rock is the large oval-shaped patch of snow in the background on the left (above Mountain Fresh). Satulah Mountain is in the background on the right.

Throughout it all, Highlands remained relatively unscathed.

“We were fortunate on Saturday,” said Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor. “Road crews did a good job given the heavy snow amounts. We had no major power outages, which was amazing given the heavy snow and winds.”

The Town Street Department plowed consistently as soon as the snow began falling. Pictured above is Main Street in front of Reeves Hardware being plowed.

Forecasts predicted over 10 inches of snow throughout the weekend and Highlands Biological Station Associate Director Jason Love said they received approx. 10-11 inches measured using a rain gauge, which when melted down equates to 1.64 inches of precipitation.

Macon County EMS had some downtime between calls to build a snowman.

Highlands Public Service Director Lamar Nix said it was a challenging dealing with wet and slippery conditions, but the Street Department plowed constantly throughout the storm and power outages were few and repaired quickly.

The snow had to be put somewhere, and it began to build up. Over the next several days, the Street Department worked to remove the piles of snow.

Highlands Police Sgt. Tim Broughton said HPD is always thankful for how quickly the NC DOT and Highlands Street Department work on scraping and salting the roads, but there were still drivers who ventured out despite warnings to stay home.

Driving wasn’t much of an issue as most people who ventured out took to the streets on foot. Pictured above are pedestrians making their way up Maple Street just passed the Old Jail.

“Luckily when the snow began, most people were staying put and not on the roads,” Broughton. “Unfortunately, some people who were out were not prepared for the winter weather conditions. The majority of our calls for service were people who had slid off the road. Also, once the wind picked up and power started going out, we had to respond to alarm calls.

An aerial view from Main Street looking towards Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park on Jan. 17.

He added that HPD would also like to thank the Town Electric Crew, Haywood Electric, and Duke Energy for their quick work in getting the power restored after damage to the lines.”

Monkey Hill was the place to be as snow continued to fall from Winter Storm Izzy on Jan. 17.

People having a blast waiting for the right time to take their next run down Monkey Hill.

During periods of heavy snowfall, the Town closes off the end of Hickory Street so people can sled down Monkey Hill.

It’s all about picking the right line to hit top speed.

Things can escalate quickly when a person veers off course on Monkey Hill and is ejected into the woods.

Snow days aren’t just for humans.

Trailhead at the Kelsey Trail Preserve at the end of 5th Street on Jan. 17.

Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park on Jan. 17.

Looking towards the Ice Skating Rink at Founders Park on Jan. 17.

Looking down 4th Street towards Founders Park on Jan. 17.

Town Hall looking towards Main Street on 4th Street on Jan. 17.

Walking was the best way to travel as people walked the streets through Highlands on Jan. 17.

An aerial view from 3rd and Main streets looking towards Franklin on Jan. 17.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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