As record-breaking snowfall began piling up late Saturday night (December 8th) through Monday (December 10th) the focus for many weather followers nationwide, and to an extent worldwide, was based in Boone.
Jim Cantore, of the Weather Channel, spent about six hours in front of the Watauga County Courthouse on Saturday providing reports to viewers all across the globe before the start of the snow. His coverage also included parts of the Boone Christmas Parade as it passed by.
On Sunday, Cantore's coverage also spanned about six hours along Highway 105 near the main intersection in Boone. On Monday, Cantore concluded his coverage by broadcasting again in downtown Boone for several hours. He noted several times during the Monday broadcast the high praise for the road scraping efforts.
The three-day coverage lead to Watauga County and Boone not only being in the heart of the storm but also media exposure that a price tag can not be put on.
Just after the storm concluded, WataugaOnline.com reached out to area officials asking their input on the extensive Weather Channel coverage and how it was a boost to the area.
To begin with, Jim Cantore told WataugaOnline.com about being in Boone, “It was a blast. Took me back to my Vermont upbringing”.
David Jackson – President and CEO of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce:
It's hard to imagine when the last time Boone and the High Country received this much national attention in a 10 day stretch. You probably have to go back to the post-Michigan aftermath in 2007. From ESPN broadcasting live or the Sun Belt Championship game to Jim Cantore camping out in our back yard for a three-day stretch, millions of people have had the opportunity to hear more about our community. Several businesses like Apple Hill Farm, App Ski Mountain, Allen Wealth Management, Vidalia Restaurant & Wine Bar, Cafe Portofino have all seen time in the spotlight. We've also seen great documentation about how quickly our Town, County, and State crews get us back to normal, which may be the most important coverage in this winter storm. It's hard to tell immediately what kind of effect this coverage will have on our community, but it's safe to say a lot more people know who we are and where we are, and have seen us in some of our most unique and special circumstances.”
Wright Tilley – Watauga Tourism Development Authority
“We are honored that Jim Cantore chose Boone as his broadcast location for Winter Storm Diego. While here, Jim and his crew experienced Boone’s annual Christmas parade, enjoyed several of our downtown restaurants, and interacted with many of our residents. We hope he and The Weather Channel team will visit again and explore Boone in all four seasons.”
Candice Cook – High Country Host Executive Directress of Marketing and Communications
As they say any press is good press, and The Weather Channel broadcast from Boone was great for area tourism. Driving conditions is always a major concern for potential visitors and Jim Cantore did a great job of conveying that our local NC DOT road maintenance team know how to keep our roads clear during snowy conditions. You would also be surprised to know that many people as close as South Carolina have no idea that we get measurable snow, yet alone have three ski slopes in the North Carolina Mountains. This Weather Channels coverage is invaluable in helping us get the word out about our winter season.
Winter Storm Diego brought a record breaking snow to Boone for the month of December and it also brought national media attention.
While locals and student who have chosen to attend Appalachian State University already know what makes the Town of Boone so special, those watching the national media coverage of the weather event were also offered a glimpse of our majestic mountain top community. The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce and the Boone Tourism Development Authority do an excellent job of promoting our community across the region and when you add the national coverage provided by Jim Cantore of Weather Channel during his live broadcasts from Downtown Boone and on HWY 105 in the middle of the storm it takes tourism promotion to the next level. The coverage provided during the 2018 Boone Christmas Parade highlighted our local culture and our local businesses. The interviews with our Public Works Department, Police Department and Fire Department reassured citizens, while offering visual images to the nation of the beauty of our community. Before, during and after Winter Storm Diego the Town of Boone received invaluable media coverage that served as both a point of pride in our community and as a draw for other to come and see what we are all about.