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Saturday, October 17, 2020

News and Weather Briefing for Saturday, October 17, 2020


Cooler and much drier air will filter in under Canadian high pressure with frost and freeze conditions expected across the mountains through this morning and possibly tonight/tommorrow morning. The Bermuda High will nose into the region early next week, supporting a rebound in temperatures to slightly above normal.


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General forecast through Monday night


Patchy fog in the morning. Areas of frost before 10am. Otherwise, sunny, with highs in the mid-to-upper 50s in the higher elevations to the low-to-mid 60s in the lower elevations. Calm winds.


Areas of frost after 4am. Otherwise, mostly clear, with lows ranging from near freezing in the higher elevations and areas where pockets of cooler air can pool to the mid-to-upper 30s in the lower elevations. Calm winds.


Areas of frost before 9am. Otherwise, sunny, with highs ranging from the upper 50s in the higher elevations to the mid-60s in the lower elevations. Light winds out of the southeast.

Sunday Night

Mostly clear, with lows ranging from the upper 30s in the higher elevations to the mid-40s in the lower elevations. Calm winds.


Mostly sunny, with highs ranging from the mid-60s in the higher elevations to the lower 70s in the lower elevations. Monday NightPartly cloudy, with lows in the 40s.

News Brief

Macon County Public Health Identifies a COVID-19 Cluster in a Local Church [LINK]

Macon County Public Health has identified a COVID-19 cluster of positive cases in an area church located in Franklin. NC DPH defines clusters of COVID-19 in workplace, educational, and other community settings as:

• A minimum of 5 cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period AND
• Plausible linkage between cases;

where cases were present in the same setting during the same time-period (e.g., same shift, same classroom, same physical work area); that the timing fits with likely timing of exposure; and that there is no other more likely source of exposure for identified cases (e.g., household or close contact to a confirmed case in another setting).

Members of Franklin Church of God's congregation have tested positive; all members of the congregation are aware of their exposure, and are currently being contacted for testing. Members of the congregation are encouraged to quarantine if they experience symptoms; those who test positive will be given isolation orders. In addition, church leadership has been provided disinfection guidance.

MCPH is working to identify additional close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 10 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

The entire state of North Carolina is under a "Safer at Home" executive order, currently under phase 3 with masks required to be worn when social distancing cannot be maintained. Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19; however, anyone of any age can become infected with this illness. Therefore, we ask that community members strictly follow the governor's orders and continue to practice social distancing, as well as safe hygiene measures such as hand washing and frequently cleaning touched objects and surfaces. The public can monitor the different phases of re-opening and learn more about the restrictions at https://covid19.ncdhhs.qov/quidance.

It is important to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources. For more information, please visit the CDC's website at www.cdc.ciov/coronavirus and NCDHHS.

The NC State Board of Election reminds us that voter intimidation is against the law [LINK

Here are the latest COVID-19 Numbers and Demographics Report from Macon Public Health, along with a chart to show you the long-term trends since May 30, 2020, when the health department started releasing numbers to the public.

The health department has stopped releasing numbers over the weekend, so the next report on local numbers will be Monday afternoon.


709 Detected
(+3 from Thursday and +29 from last Friday and +115 in four weeks)

26 Active
(-6 from Thursday and -8 from last Friday and -1 in four weeks)

676 Recovered
(+9 from Thursday and +37 from last Friday and +116 in four weeks)

7 Deaths
(unchanged from Thursday and unchanged from last Friday and unchanged in four weeks)


6094 by MCPH
(+74 from Thursday and +174 from last Friday and +716 in four weeks)

2448 by others
(unchanged from Thursday and +115 from last Friday and +411 in four weeks)

8542 in total
(+74 from Thursday and +289 from last Friday and +1127in four weeks)

168 tests pending results
(+75 from Thursday and +38 from last Friday and +80 in four weeks)


We are under A Freeze Warning this morning until 10am this morning. Other than that, no weather hazards are anticipated for today. Some isolated areas may dip below freezing again tonight, but it won't be a hard freeze. A copy of the Freeze Warning is posted below. Freeze Warning
National Weather Service Greenville-Spartanburg SC
1009 PM EDT Fri Oct 16 2020


* WHAT...Sub-freezing temperatures as low as 31 expected.

* WHERE...Avery, Yancey, Mitchell, Swain, Haywood, Graham, Northern Jackson and Macon Counties.

* WHEN...From 3 AM to 10 AM EDT Saturday.

* IMPACTS...Frost and freeze conditions will kill crops, other sensitive vegetation and possibly damage unprotected outdoor plumbing.


Take steps now to protect tender plants from the cold. To prevent freezing and possible bursting of outdoor water pipes they should be wrapped, drained, or allowed to drip slowly. Those that have in-ground sprinkler systems should drain them and cover above- ground pipes to protect them from freezing.

Air Quality

Air quality is in the middle range of green today for all elevations.


Pollen levels are expected to be low-medium (3.4 out of 12) with ragweed, chenopods, and grasses being the main culprits. Tomorrow is expected to drop into the low range (2.0 out of 12).

Weather Extremes for Macon County for October 17th

Highest Temperature 81°F in Highlands in 1965
Lowest Temperature 20°F in Highlands in 1978
Greatest One-Day Rainfall 7.50 inches in Highlands in 1879 Greatest One-Day Snowfall (no snowfall has been recorded on this date since records began in 1872 

(The North Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1st to Nov 30th)

Tropical Weather Outlook
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL
200 AM EDT Sat Oct 17 2020

For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:

1. Showers and thunderstorms continue to gradually become better organized in association with a non-tropical low pressure system located about 500 miles east-southeast of Bermuda. Although the circulation is still somewhat elongated, the center appears better defined than it was yesterday. Continued slow development is expected, and a subtropical depression or storm is likely to form during the next couple of days while the low meanders well to the southeast of Bermuda.

* Formation chance through 48 hours...high...70 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days...high...80 percent.

2. A broad area of low pressure is expected to form in a few days over the southwestern Caribbean Sea. Some gradual development of this system will be possible through the middle of next week while it moves slowly over the southwestern or western Caribbean Sea.

* Formation chance through 48 hours...low...near 0 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days...low...30 percent.


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Published at 5:00am Saturday, October 17, 2020