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Blizzard-like conditions hitting Unicoi County

With blizzard-like conditions hitting Unicoi County and Erwin, authorities are advising citizens to use extreme caution when driving or going outside.
According to the National Weather Service, all areas of Unicoi County are under a winter storm warning until 4 a.m. Thursday.
Snowfall throughout the county is varied from a couple inches to as much as six inches in the higher elevations with more snow predicted to fall until after midnight Wednesday. The storm was predicted to taper off from 2 p.m. Wednesday to 4 p.m. and then snow will resume throughout the afternoon and evening. Lower elevations could see a total snowfall of 4 to 6 inches with higher elevations getting as much as a foot.
Erwin Police Chief Regan Tilson said people should use caution when going outside. Wind gusts are reaching 40 to 60 mph and wind chill temperature is dropping to below zero, creating the increased chance for frostbite, wind burns and hypothermia when exposed for too long.
“Limit outside activity,” he said. “They should also cover up exposed skin.”
In the town of Erwin, street department crews are continuing to treat and scrape roads from the snow, but because of the wind, once the roads are cleared, the existing snow is blown back onto the roadways. Side roads are slick and motorists should use caution.
Out in the county, roads are slick and snow covered. Unicoi County Highway Department crews will continue to clear the roads throughout the storm, but be aware that the falling and blowing snow are quickly recovering the roads.
Limit traveling if possible, Tilson said. If you become stranded, contact emergency responders immediately and avoid being outside.
For emergencies, call 911 or for non-emergencies, contact dispatchers at 743-1850.