Asheville, Buncombe officials outline winter storm preparedness, share safety messages

City Hall snow


More snow than we thought could be coming.

During a joint press conference and community briefing on winter storm response, Buncombe County and City of Asheville officials shared safety messages and updates on what to expect.

As the snow began falling outside Buncombe County Emergency Services Headquarters, Director Jerry VeHaun shared information from a conference call Saturday with N.C. Emergency Management and weather forecasters.

“They feel like the worst of the weather will begin at 8 o’clock Saturday night,” VeHaun said. “And they’ve upped the predicted snowfall amounts — instead of getting 10 to 16 inches they’re now calling for 12 to 20 inches.”

He went on to advise people to stay at home and off the roads, for their own safety and the safety of others. Both Buncombe Sheriff Quentin Miller and Asheville Police Deputy Chief Wade Wood reinforced this point.


City preparedness

Asheville Fire Chief Burnette stressed coordinated response and planning in concert with Buncombe County as a key to community preparedness.

“We have staffed up our fire stations so we can offer emergency services quickly, efficiently and safely,” he said.

Asheville Public Works Director Greg Shuler said his staff “is well trained, dedicated and will remain on the job clearing roads as long as necessary.”

He also called on the community to take measures to help Public Works crews clear our streets.

“When you see one of our plows out performing their duties please give them plenty of clearance for safety,” Shuler said.

He also asked that people do not park their cars on streets as much as possible “to allow snow plows to do their job more efficiently.”


Free parking

If you are in the Central Business District, City of Asheville parking decks will be open to the public free of charge for the duration of the storm.

The Warren Haynes Christmas Jam at the U.S Cellular Center will go on as scheduled tonight, though a free stream to the concert was offered to ticket holders, in the interest of safety. Saturday Night and 2-day passholders unable to attend can gain access to the stream at You will need your ticket bar-code number.


ART bus service suspended

For safety reasons, ART bus remains suspended on Sunday.

Once roads are safe for the buses, service will resume as quickly as possible, said Transportation Assistant Director Jessica Morriss.



The WNC Nature Center has closed because of the storm.

The Festival of Lights at Lake Julian Park is closed for Dec. 8.

Buncombe County Public Libraries closed early Saturday.

Buncombe County also announced that all of its parks are closed.


Where to find official information

For the full press briefing, visit this link.

The City of Asheville will continue to post links to official emergency information on the City of Asheville website and on the Asheville Fire Department’s Twitter feed.

Information will also be posted on the City of Asheville Facebook page and Twitter feed.


What about power?

Call Duke Energy to report downed power lines:

  • Duke Energy Carolinas – 800-769-3766
  • Duke Energy Progress – 800-419-6356

Duke Energy warns people to stay away from downed power lines.

Are you planning on using a generator to keep warm if your power goes out? Generators should be run outside in a well-ventilated area — not a garage, carport, or shed. The Asheville Fire Department recommends using a carbon monoxide monitor too!


Stay safe, everyone!