Winter weather crippled Elkin and surrounding areas on Thursday after a foot and a half of snow had fallen in some of the region. The snowstorm resulted in a jackknifed tractor-trailer, numerous stranded motorists and a snow day for school children.
The director of Surry County Emergency Services confirmed a tractor-trailer has jackknifed Thursday morning on Interstate 77 near mile 86. A second tractor-trailer also jackknifed in the Mount Airy area.
As of press time, no further information on the accident on I-77 was available.
“Get off the roads. Stay off the roads. You are actually making response more difficult by being on the road,” said Emergency Services Director John Shelton late Thursday morning.
“We are looking at whiteout conditions. We are doing the best we can to respond to emergency situations. We have three trucks here from the National Guard and another one on its way. We have trucks trying to push through, but vehicles are getting in our way. Just stay off the roads,” he said.
Chief Monroe Wagoner with the Elkin Police Department said that despite some of the challenges getting to calls, he’s been very pleased with the residents of Elkin who remained off the street.
“It’s slippery out there. We’ve had a few minor accidents, but nothing crazy has happened for the town. We have a full crew out there working hard and everything looks,” said Wagoner. “I am happy the residents are staying put.”
According to Wagoner, I-77 was still tied up at press deadline, but he said that the influx of traffic along CC Camp Road eased when major retail outlet Walmart closed its doors at 4 p.m.
While many in the area posted pictures on Facebook of covered 12-inch rulers in the snow, and in some places higher reports, a reading on snow accumulation from the official weather recording station at the Elkin water treatment plant wasn’t available at press time.
Power outages were also a concern. As of press deadline, Duke Energy reported 1,173 outages for Surry County with an additional 313 in Yadkin County.
According to the Duke Energy website, most of the Surry County power outages were in the Mount Airy area with Pilot Mountain also experiencing outages. Elkin and Jonesville outages were spotted, but not with significant numbers compared to other municipalities.
In Elkin, Public Works employees were out plowing town roads.
“We’re working 24 hours a day right now. Roads are being cleared as fast as possible. It’s best to stay off the roads and let the crews work. If you have no reason to be out in the street today, you shouldn’t,” said a spokeswoman for the department.
Calls to Surry County 911 lit up its central communications office.
“We’ve had lots of calls for stranded motorists,” said Johnathan Bledsoe, director of Surry County 911.
Both emergency responding officials — Shelton and Bledsoe — indicated frustration on motorists not heeding to advice to stay off the roadways in advance of the storm.
Despite the inclement weather, Elkin Town Hall was open for normal hours on Thursday.
“We have had zero visitors or citizens this morning,” reported Town Manager Lloyd Payne.
“We highly encourage our residents to stay home and out of the weather. Our town crews will be working today and all of tonight to ensure the town streets are cleared, once the snow stops. Stay home, stay warm, check on your neighbors, and enjoy the snow safely.”
The town of Elkin wasn’t the only government office open.
The Elkin branch for the United States Postal Service said mail was being delivered through the snowstorm, but mail may not make it to all houses.
“It depends. It’s rough out there and we’re making every effort,” said an employee at the downtown office.
Delivery challenges also are posing a problem for newspapers. The Elkin Tribune will publish Friday, but due to inclement weather, newspaper delivery may be effected.
Many students have been out of school since Wednesday.
As of Thursday afternoon, Stokes County and Yadkin County already had cancelled Friday classes. Surry County Schools and Elkin City Schools have not confirmed closures by press deadline.
Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 336-835-1513 or follow on Twitter @newsgonz.