Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

February 14, 2014

Winter storm; Region hammered by one foot or more of snow

BLUEFIELD — With the arrival of spring still 34 days away, the other foot fell in Bluefield Wednesday night and Thursday — the other foot, plus two inches of snow, that is. With 14-inches on the ground in Bluefield, “Nature’s Air-Conditioned City” recorded one of the higher accumulation totals in the region.

“I don’t like to close city hall, but I told all non-essential personnel not to come to work today,” Jim Ferguson, Bluefield city manager said. “The snow tends to blow into my driveway, so I had about two foot of snow to clear out of there before I could get out. Contrary to what people think, the street where the city manager lives isn’t the first street cleared.”

Ferguson said that one of the city’s one-ton snow plows threw a drive shaft, and as a result, six of the city’s seven snow plows have been working 24 hours. “The main roads are looking good, but with a snow like this, it has been difficult to push the snow on some of the side streets,” Ferguson said.

“We’ve been hearing about snowfall totals of about 14 inches throughout the district,” Tom Camden, District 10 administrator of the West Virginia Department of Highways said. “The main roads are passable, but the secondary roads may take a little more time. I would say in another day or two, we might be OK. For right now, I think the best would be for people not to travel the roads unless it is absolutely necessary. It would really help if we can get that message out.”

The snow started falling in Bluefield at about 1:40 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon and fell continuously through the night and into Thursday morning. By 5:30 a.m., Bluefield had 10 inches on the ground, but according to the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va., the 9 a.m. total Thursday morning on U.S. Route 460 at the intersection with Route 598 near Cole Chevrolet was 14 inches.

The National Weather Service had reports of 13 inches at Lindside, 12 inches at Princeton, 10 inches at Tazewell, Va., 15 inches at Christiansburg, Va., and a measurement of 17.6 inches at Mountain Lake. According to the National Weather Service website, the chance of snow should diminish overnight.

“We had a couple slide-off-the-road-into-a-ditch wrecks overnight, but nothing too bad,” Cpl. C.K. Morton of the Welch Detachment, West Virginia State Police said. “Other than those minor wrecks, we had a surprisingly normal night.” Morton said that McDowell County had about 10-12 inches of snow.

Sgt. Jose Centeno of the Princeton Detachment, West Virginia State Police said that Mercer County didn’t have any major problems. “The West Virginia Turnpike has a couple of truck wrecks up in the Ghent area, but we didn’t have any problems on the Mercer County end of I-77,” he said.

“We have had problems with stranded motorists, but not too many,” Centeno said. “It’s just the typical, normal stuff that you have when you have a foot of snow.”

Although the Weather Service has a chance of snow in the forecast through most of the day on Friday and again on Saturday night and Sunday, the forecast for Monday is for temperatures near 50 degrees.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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