Clearing, digging out underway after heavy snow in southeastern West Virginia

GREENBRIER COUNTY, W.Va. — Not many customers were coming into the Alderson Big Wheel Family Restaurant on Monday morning a day after a storm that brought a snow dump to parts of southern and southeastern West Virginia.

“It’s pretty slow,” Billy King told MetroNews while on the job there at around 9:30 a.m. when much of Alderson, including his home, was under an estimated 18 inches of snow.

On Sunday, snow out of a system that was affecting the entire Mid-Atlantic Region fell heavily and steadily on his town.

At 5 a.m. Sunday, “It had just started flurrying and snowing and then, like 12 hours later, we had over a foot at that point,” King said.

In White Sulphur Springs, the amount of snow — also at about 18 inches of accumulation — came as a surprise to town officials.

“We knew we were going to get snow, but we didn’t expect to get that much snow and it continued to snow and snow and snow and we just had to deal with what we got,” said Lloyd Haynes, city manager in White Sulphur Springs.

“I was hoping it would stop as soon as possible so we could catch up (Sunday) because it was pretty hard to stay ahead of it, it was coming down so fast and so hard.”

That was the case in other parts of southern West Virginia, but not statewide.

“This was a very sharp gradient on this storm,” said Ray Young, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

“The majority of the snow fell on the southeastern portion of the state with the heaviest bands just south and east of Beckley.”

Some preliminary unofficial snow totals from the National Weather Service were as follows:

19.5 inches in Glenray, Summers County;
18.5 inches in Grassy Meadows, Greenbrier;
18 inches in Hinton, Summers County;
18 inches in Oakvale, Mercer County;
17 inches in Saulsville, Wyoming County;
16.5 inches in Anawalt, McDowell County;
14 inches in Montcalm, Mercer County;
13 inches in Bramwell, Mercer County;
12 inches in Princeton, Mercer County;
12 inches in Lindside, Monroe County.

The largest snow total out of the system in West Virginia, 24 inches, was recorded on White Mountain in southern West Virginia, according to the National Weather Service.

“We knew it was going to clip the southern portion of our territory, but a heavy precipitation band set up there across the Greenbrier Valley and just southeast of Beckley,” Young said.

“That was a bit heavier than we expected through that region.”

On Sunday, the National Weather Service had Winter Storm Warnings in effect for Mingo, Logan, McDowell, Wyoming, Raleigh, southeast Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer, Summers and Monroe counties.

“Overall, we saw widespread amounts generally in the eight to 12 inch range throughout those counties and on the lower end amounts probably around six or seven inches,” said Michael Kistner, also a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston.

Haynes said December usually brings some snow to White Sulphur Springs.

“That’s not unheard of, but we rarely see snow to that degree this time of year,” Haynes said.

By Monday morning, Winter Storm Warnings had been lifted in West Virginia but continued through parts of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

West Virginia Division of Highways crews from 12 county garages were “actively plowing” roads.

Haynes said major roads in White Sulphur Springs were clear and crews were turning their attention to other areas.

“Fortunately, we didn’t have a lot of wind so we didn’t have drifting. We just had an abundance of snow,” Haynes said.

No widespread power outages were reported in West Virginia.

Public schools were closed Monday in Fayette, Greenbrier, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Monroe, Pendleton, Raleigh, Summers and Wyoming counties.

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