While Hurricane Sandy pounded the East Coast with torrential rain, the storm caused different weather conditions in some parts of West Virginia and its neighboring Appalachian states.
As much as thirty inches of snow fell in some areas and caused an unexpected set of winter problems for residents. In West Virginia, at least 236,000 people lost power and more than 30 highways and roads were closed due to snow, ice, high water and downed trees and power lines.
In Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the border of Tenneessee and North Carolina, 22 inches of snow fell. Fallen trees and waist-deep snow drifts forced many hikers off the Appalachian Trail.
The deluge of snow also affected some ski areas, but was a mixed bag for expectant skiers. West Virginia’s Whitegrass had planned to open runs with the storm, but cancelled due to loss of electricity. Farther south, Snowshoe Mountain received plenty of snow, but also saw winds up to 60 mph. Because of the dicey conditions, the ski area was not allowing uphill skiing.
For those determined to tackle hurricane slopes, Sugar Mountain in North Carolina was the best (and perhaps only) bet. The average snow depth there was between six and 30 inches and the Sugar Mountain website encouraged riders to “Be a part of history” with the earliest opening of all time.