Concerns looming in High Country as Hurricane Ian approaches

Right now, emergency crews are still watching and waiting to see what the hurricane decides to do.
Crews here are on call twenty-four hours a day and can respond quickly if the worst happens.
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 4:38 PM EDT
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WATAUGA COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - With Hurricane Ian barreling its way toward Florida, officials locally are starting early preparations to get ready when it arrives in the Carolinas sometime late this week.

What concerns many living in the High Country are the threats of rock or mudslides that could do serious damage to whatever is in their path.

Inside the emergency situation room at the Watauga Office of Emergency Management, it’s still quiet. Officials are monitoring the track Ian is on, and figuring out what kind of impact this could have in the county.

COVERAGE: Tracking Ian: First Alerts issued across WBTV viewing area as Ian draws closer

The 911 dispatch is also fully staffed getting ready in case there is an influx of calls during the storm. One of the concerns is rock or mudslides, something if you’ve driven along highway 321 in Blowing Rock is evident they’ve thought about.

The director of the OEM said most mudslides happen around roadways that were cut through mountains, which is why they’ve installed this fencing to keep problems at bay. But for many, there’s still a concern.

Here’s the good news: WBTV spoke with Doctor Ellen Cowan from Appalachian State University. She’s a Geologist and said because of all the dry weather the High Country has had, the water levels are actually low at this point. She says there’s plenty of room in the basin to handle the water that’s headed our way.