Many residents were stunned waking up to half a foot of snow or more when only expecting accumulations of one to three inches in the Elkins area Thursday morning.
Schools were closed in many counties Thursday, including Randolph, Barbour, Upshur, Tucker, Taylor and Pocahontas.
Snow totals locally included Kumbrabow State Forest, 13 inches; Helvetia, 12 inches; Elkins, 8 inches; Beverly, 7 inches; French Creek, 5 inches; Buckhannon, 4 inches; Snowshoe, 8 inches; Marlinton, 4 inches; Belington, 6 inches; and Philippi 3 inches. Totals are from the weatherundergound.com website.
Tom Mazza, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, said the “surprise snow storm” came from a number of combined elements.
“We had a weak low pressure system that came through with an ill-defined center,” Mazza said. “Within that system was another low pressure system containing an upslope flow of air. The air movement, paired with the mountains, converged, and that, combined with the cold air masses, caused enhanced accumulations of light, fluffy snow.”
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm advisory for the area from noon today to 7 a.m. Saturday.
Mazza said Friday temperatures should climb to the high 20s.
“About midday, we should expect a fast-moving system that will bring snowfall until around 6 p.m.,” Mazza said.
“Total accumulations should be five to six inches, with six to eight inches of snow in the higher elevations.”