CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Call it a snow dump. A classic Nor’easter covered parts of West Virginia in more than a foot of snow Wednesday night and continuing through much of Thursday.
“It started down in the southern states and everybody was worried about Atlanta and the Carolinas … and then it came up the coast,” said Ken Batty, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
“This is the first real big Nor’easter that the state has had this winter. We’ve had a lot of two to six inch snow storms that certainly bother you when you try to do your morning or evening commute.”
Batty was a guest on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline” as heavy snow continued to fall in West Virginia courtesy of a storm system that was pushing into the northeast United States.
In some parts of West Virginia, snow was coming down at a rate of up to 2 inches per hour, which quickly added up to more than a foot of snow.
“That goes from the Route 19 corridor, including Beckley and Oak Hill and Summersville, all the way through the mountains including the Greenbrier Valley around Lewisburg and Marlinton,” said Batty. “And you go over into the Potomac Highlands around Moorefield, Keyser, Petersburg, all the way over to where the Shenandoah (River) meets the Potomac (River) there at Harpers Ferry.”
Snow total reports to MetroNews, as of Thursday morning, included 17 inches at Harpers Ferry, 17 inches in Martinsburg, 12 inches in Chapmanville, 17 inches at Scherr, 10 inches in Bluefield and eight inches in Charleston. More snow was adding to those accumulations every hour.
Because of the continued snow, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin called on West Virginians to stay off the roadways unless absolutely necessary. Crews with the Division of Highways and municipal agencies struggled to keep ahead of the snowfall.
Only essential state personnel were required to report to work on Thursday and 50 county school systems were closed.
“I encourage you to do what you do best—check on your families, friends and neighbors this morning and make sure they are safe,” said Tomblin in a statement. “Many areas in our state received a substantial amount of snowfall.”
Batty said the snow line shifted an estimated 30 miles west late Wednesday and that is why, he said, counties along Interstate 79 saw so much snow. The heaviest snow was falling in those areas on Thursday morning.
“When you’re dealing with a monster storm that covers most of the East Coast, those things are going to happen,” he said.
The Nor’easter largely missed the Northern Panhandle counties along with the Ohio River Valley, including Parkersburg.