State transportation agency urges ‘extreme caution’

Press release from the N.C. Department of Transportation, shared Jan. 17:

RALEIGH — Motorists are urged to use extreme caution navigating roads in Western North Carolina counties tonight and into tomorrow, and avoid driving if possible. In addition to the snow that is beginning to fall across this region, more than 55 mudslides have occurred across the region and are creating additional hazards for travel.

Motorists should stay vigilant and watch for downed trees, power lines and other debris in the road. Additionally, they should watch for N.C. Department of Transportation crews, as well as contracting crews and utility workers, who are working overnight and into tomorrow clearing debris from roads and plowing snow. This is especially important in the areas where the largest number of slides have occurred, including Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties, as well as U.S. 19 in Yancey County.

To ensure safety, motorists are advised to go slow, avoid distractions such as cell phones and avoid forcefully using their brakes to reduce speed. Use extra caution around the mudslide cleanup areas, which are indicated by orange cones and the presence of NCDOT vehicles.

Drivers can access real-time information about changing road conditions a number of ways:

  • Call 511, the department’s toll-free travel information line;
  • Visit NCDOT’s travel webpage at to see live traffic camera images and access road conditions by region, route or county;
  • Use NCDOT Mobile, the mobile version of the department’s website, to know before you go about road conditions. Just type “” into your smartphone’s browser;
  • “Like” NCDOT on Facebook at; and
  • Follow one of NCDOT’s many Twitter feeds, which are listed at

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Angie Newsome was the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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