Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

December 19, 2009

Walloped

BLUEFIELD — A fast-moving snow storm that dumped more than 13 inches of snow in Mercer County during a 10-hour stretch Friday night left thousands of homes in the dark on Saturday and scores of motorists stranded.

“We’re just responding to emergencies now,” Senior Trooper P.H. Shrewsbury of the Princeton Detachment, West Virginia State Police said during Saturday afternoon. “If it’s a fender-bender, we can’t get there.

“We had a lot of motorists stranded on I-77 during the night, but we have them all cleared now,” Shrewsbury said. “It’s pretty bad out there. Unless they have an emergency, people should just stay off the roads and let the snow-removal crews clear the snow before they try to travel.”

Cooperative weather observers for the National Weather Service measured a total of 15 inches of snow for the event at coop weather sites in Bluefield and Glenwood with the Glenwood observer measuring 13.3 inches of snow in a 10-hour period starting at 2 p.m., and ending at midnight.

“Some places in Greenbrier County reported snowfall totals of as much as 22 and 25 inches,” Ken Kastor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va., said. “When you have a higher rate of snow like we had with this storm, you can sometimes hear thunder.” A Princeton man, Josh Bailey, reported hearing thunder during the storm.

Kastor said that there may be some residual “up-slope snow” with accumulation of 2-3 inches into Sunday morning, “but nothing compared to what you had on Friday and Saturday.”

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine declared a state of emergency Friday evening, and Gov. Joe Manchin declared West Virginia in a state of emergency at about 7:30 a.m., Saturday. “We were working on it through the night and in the early morning hours,” Jimmy Gianato, director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said. “I left Charleston at about 1 p.m., Friday afternoon, but didn’t get home to Kimball until 11 p.m. “I was assisting at accidents in Wyoming County on the way home. I have been on the telephone continuously since I got home.”

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