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Interstate Reopens after Shutdown

Today, after a day of clearing, the highway in McDowell County is mostly clear again.

Overnight drivers trying to get over the top of Old Fort Mountain found themselves in a dangerous situation.

The problems began on eastbound Interstate 40 near Black Mountain.

An abandoned truck is the only visible sign of last nights dangerous conditions. Dozens of cars and trucks got stuck in deep snow as they tried to cross over the top of the mountain.

David Bowman and his big rig were stuck in the middle of it, "there were trucks stuck here and there. You kind of had to thread your way down. "

At least three people trying to get up the mountain got stuck and were stranded. That's when officials opened an emergency shelter at the Old Fort First Baptist Church in McDowell County. Officials say their health and safety was their first priority.

Eudene Edwards, EMS Deputy Director, "are they on oxygen are they running low on oxygen things of that nature. Do we need to get a unit in and get these people picked up off the interstate and get them into a shelter, get them into warmth."

Highway crews managed to keep the westbound lanes going up the mountain open throughout the storm, but they weren't as lucky in the eastbound lane.

More than a dozen tractor-trailers jackknifed and blocked the highway near mile marker 77.  Accidents on the uphill curve brought traffic in the eastbound lane to a halt.

Eastbound lane were shut down for about three hours and re-opened around 2:30am Thursday morning. Emergency officials say the danger now is black ice and drivers trying to go to fast.


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