West Virginia crippled by massive snow storm
Posted on October 31, 2012
October 31, 2012 – WEST VIRGINIA – Parts of West Virginia were digging out from up to three feet of snow dumped in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a deluge that cut power to hundreds of thousands of residents and shut down main highways. The thick blanket of snow at higher elevations across the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains, including in parts of Maryland and Pennsylvania, also brought concerns that rivers and creeks in low-lying areas could flood later in the week as the snow melts, with temperatures expected to reach 60 degrees.
Falling trees and storm-related traffic accidents claimed the lives of three people in Maryland, three in Pennsylvania and one in West Virginia, state officials said Tuesday. Close to 300,000 West Virginia residents were without power Tuesday afternoon, as high winds and heavy snow snapped branches and downed power lines, and officials expected the number to rise. Outages at several utilities had left some areas without access to water, and officials were sending out trucks to deliver bottled water. “West Virginia continues to be hard hit,” said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat. “Right now, my main focus is on life safety, power restoration and critical infrastructure.…We are doing everything we can to help the folks in need.” More than 30 of West Virginia’s 55 counties had snow, with the heaviest snowfall at higher elevations, said Liz Sommerville, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Charleston, W.Va. Bowden, above 3,000 feet, recorded 24 inches by early Tuesday, compared with 16 inches in Beckley, elevation 2,300 feet, and 9 inches in the capital of Charleston, elevation 980 feet.
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The surface low associated with Sandy will continue to weaken and move from western Pennsylvania northward to southern Ontario by late Wednesday.
As a result, we will see lingering impacts including gusty winds, rain and snow.
Windy conditions will continue over the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley on Wednesday. However, the worst of the winds with Sandy are over with.
According to our Winter Weather Expert Tom Niziol, snow will continue mainly across the higher elevations of the Central Appalachians through early Tuesday evening but there are signs that somewhat warmer and drier air will circulate across the region as the night progresses.
Additional snowfall is expected to total up to 8 inches overnight, especially for the higher elevations of northern West Virginia. Winds are expected to also gradually diminish overnight. On Wednesday as Sandy continues its slow progress into Southern Canada, in its wake another 2 to 4 inches of new snow is likely to fall on the ridges of the Central Appalachians under northwest winds. Chilly Air Behind Sandy
Behind the storm, cold air has moved into some of the areas without power.
Expect early morning lows to bottom out in the 30s from the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley into the Tennessee Valley and Appalachians into the interior Northeast, with 40s for lows encroaching into lower elevations of the Mid-Atlantic States by Wednesday morning.
Chill Follows Superstorm Sandy’s Blow to New Jersey
Rain from Sandy will be tapering off from south to north across the hard-hit mid-Atlantic Wednesday.
A few rain showers will be leftover across southeastern and south-central portions of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. Any leftover showers could temporarily hamper clean-up efforts.
While floodwaters trickle downstream, moderate flooding is forecast on Wednesday along the Potomac River due to Sandy’s rainfall, including near Washington, D.C., at Little Falls.
Winds will begin to ease on Wednesday; however, it will remain breezy through the rest of the week with sustained winds of 10-20 mph and locally higher gusts.
It will feel chilly through late-week with a gusty breeze factored in, while thousands of people will likely still be dealing with power outages. Highs will be held in the 50s on Thursday and Friday with lows dipping into the upper 30s and lower 40s.
Besides destruction of famous piers and landmarks, significant beach erosion occurred along the New Jersey coast.
Minor storm surge flooding also occurred in the Chesapeake Bay. Early Tuesday at at high tide, minor tidal flooding was occurring around Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
While water surged toward the coast, torrential rainfall and high winds pounded the mid-Atlantic region.
Peak wind gusts include: 60 mph in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.; 88 mph in Montclair, N.J.; 81 mph in Allentown, Pa.; 79 mph in Highland Beach, Md.; and 79 mph in Chester Gap, Va.
Governor Christie said early Tuesday that there were 2.4 million customers with no electricity in New Jersey, twice the number of power outages caused by Irene in 2011.
HIGHEST RAINFALL TOTALS BY STATE:
Andrews AFB, Md.: 15.3″ (unconfirmed)
Easton, Md.: 12.55″
Wildwood Crest, N.J.: 11.67″
Virginia Beach, Va.: 9.57″
Milford, Del.: 9.55″
Maysville, W.Va.: 7.75″
Hanover, Pa.: 7.61″
Washington, D.C.: 5.44″
Lorain, Ohio: 4.29″
East Milton, Mass.: 3.03″
Jaffrey, N.H.: 3.83″
Niagara Falls, N.Y.: 3.02″
HIGHEST WIND GUSTS BY STATE (>74 mph):
Eatons Neck, N.Y.: 94 mph
Montclair, N.J.: 88 mph
Westerly, R.I.: 86 mph
Madison, Conn.: 85 mph
Cuttyhunk, Mass.: 83 mph
Allentown, Pa.: 81 mph
Highland Beach, Md.: 79 mph
Chester Gap, Va.: 79 mph
HIGHEST SNOW AMOUNTS BY STATE:
Redhouse, Md.: 26″
Bowden, W.Va.: 24″
Champion, Pa.: 13″
Newfound Gap, N.C.: 22″
Wise, Va.: 24″
Mt. Leconte, Tenn.: 20″
Payne Gap, Ky.: 14″
Bellefontaine, Ohio: 3.5″
POWER OUTAGES: CNN reported more than 7.5 million
By comparison, Hurricane Ike had 7.5 million over his entire path.
39.67 feet (Buoy #41048)
TOP STORM SURGES:
The Battery, N.Y.: ~9 feet above normal
Kings Point, N.Y.: ~12.5 feet above normal
New Haven, Conn.: ~9 feet above normal
RECORD LOWEST PRESSURE (ON LAND):
Atlantic City, N.J.: 948.3 mb (28.00″ Hg)
Philadelphia, Pa.: 953mb (28.23″ Hg)
Harrisburg, Pa.: 963mb (28.46″ Hg)
Scranton, Pa.: 971mb (28.69″ Hg)
Trenton, N.J.: 958mb (28.31″ Hg)
Baltimore, Md.: 965mb (28.49″ Hg)
Harrisburg, Pa.: 964mb (28.46″ Hb)