Highland County is still recovering from a winter storm that hit the county last Thursday and continued into Friday.
John Franks, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service (NWS) in Wilmington, said that on Feb. 4, the NWS got a report saying that Hillsboro had four inches of precipitation on the ground. He said just north of Sinking Springs, a tree and power line came down on S.R. 41.
“Unfortunately, it came in different shots,” Franks said. “Sometimes you get that wintry mix where, you know, sometimes you change to the freezing rain and sleet and snow at the same time. But this was rain and then freezing rain and then sleet and then snow and it came with its own issues in the manner that it manifested itself.”
Franks said he knew that the county didn’t get as much snow and that it was “compromised” by the six to 10 hours of sleet. He said had that sleet not happened, the county would have been under a “very thick blanket” of snow. Franks said the forecast had predicted more snow than what the county got because of the sleet.
He said that there is the possibility of more precipitation next weekend.
“There’s a cold front moving through sometime Friday night or Saturday and the models right now are not in the best of agreement,” Franks said. “One of them has it come through Friday evening. The other one doesn’t have it come through until Saturday during the day. But the takeaway here is that there is going to be a cold front moving through in the early part of the weekend.”
An update early Monday morning from the South Central Power Company on its Facebook page said that Highland County still had around 198 houses without power and that the company expected power would be restored around Monday night for those places.
“South Central Power has restored power to around 20,000 meters since last week’s devastating ice storm,” South Central said in the Facebook statement. “Most of the counties in our service territory are now down to only scattered outages, or outages where member equipment such as a weather head need to be repaired before power can be restored. We will continue to restore power as quickly as possible in all counties, but in several counties, we still have a concentration of outages.”
Calls Monday to American Electric Power (AEP) were not returned.
A release from the Highland County Office of Homeland Security sent on Friday said that there were about 3,000 homes without power at that time in Highland County.
Because of the large number of local residents without heat, an overnight shelter with cots, blankets and food provided was set up at Hillsboro High School. In addition, warming centers, where local residents could get warm and charge their phones, were set up at Hillsboro High School, the Highland County North Joint Fire District in Leesburg and Rainsboro Elementary.
With power restored to all but about 1,000 homes and all the shelters and warming centers empty, they were shut down at 3 p.m. Saturday.
All public schools in the county were closed Monday.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.