Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

WV State News

October 29, 2012

Snow plows out in Appalachia, ski resorts opening

(Continued)

Farther south in Boone, N.C., as much as a foot of snow was expected at higher elevations as the temperature hovered just below freezing.

Watauga County Emergency Management Director Steve Sudderth said wet, heavy snow began falling early Monday morning but the ground was warm enough to keep it from sticking to roads. Most of it was accumulating above 4,000 feet. Boone averages nearly 3 feet of snowfall each winter.

No power outages were reported and county students went to school on time.

Sugar Mountain spokeswoman Kim Jochl said Monday the ski resort had already received a couple inches of natural snow and snow makers had been running since Sunday night.

The resort plans to open Wednesday for Halloween, the earliest Sugar has ever been able to open in 43 years of operation. Jochl said the earliest opening date previously was Nov. 6, 1976.

"It's unprecedented," she said.

At Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina, about 6.5 inches fell overnight at the highest elevations, spokeswoman Dana Soehn said. Wind gusts of 32 miles an hour were reported at Clingman's Dome, the highest point in Tennessee.

"Our biggest concern is folks who are hiking the Appalachian Trail," she said.

Park officials posted winter weather advisories at spots along the trail where AT hikers are required to get registered. She said there have been several cancellations and 50 registered overnight backpackers planned to spend the night at shelters.

In Kentucky, transportation crews were preparing their equipment to clear snow.

"The temperatures are still fairly warm, so we will not be pre-treating," said Miranda Thacker, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. "We will begin plowing when the snow starts to fall."

A forecaster at the National Weather Service office in Jackson, Ky., said only two measurable snowfalls have been recorded in October there since the office opened in 1981: 2.3 inches on Halloween 1993, and 0.5 inches on Oct. 20, 1989.

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Biesecker reported from Raleigh, N.C. Associated Press writers contributing to this report were Kristin M. Hall in Nashville, Tenn.; Vicki Smith in Terra Alta, W.Va.; and Lawrence Messina in Charleston, W.Va.

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