-Story by Will Mauney
Remember the Blizzard of 93’? March of 93’ in fact. I can recall story after story heard from folks I know telling me where they were that week or how much snow they had and how long their power was out. With each story as unique and interesting as the next. This was a serious storm that affected millions of people from Florida up to Maine in the US alone. There were a few of us throughout the Southeast and Mid Atlantic who were lucky (or unlucky) enough to be at a ski resort. I was one of those few.
It started snowing as we crested the hill to the condo at the top of Sugar near Big Red and didn’t stop for a week. There were two story snow drifts you could walk up and look in second story windows, which is fun when you’re thirteen. We dug 5 foot deep 3 feet wide channels through the snow to the parking lots and an underground tunnel system that rivaled any hamster cage. I remember being on the lift and hearing thunder, not believing it I later learned it was indeed possible in the middle of a snow storm.
Five feet of snow on Sugar in one week! We lost power for a few days and ran out of food with no way to drive down the steep curvy road with fifteen foot piles of snow everywhere. The only thing to do was ski and that’s what we did. It was necessary to ski down to the lodge to eat after about the third day as we ran out of food in the condo. I remember after much discussion taking a rather large bill from a parent and heading down to the lodge with a backpack to buy as many cheeseburgers and sodas to bring back to the condo. It’s easy for me and many other people to remember where they were during this epic “storm of the century”. I’m betting the residents and visitors in Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Maryland are having about that much fun with this recent blast of winter weather.
So it’s not too often you get to report that a “blizzard” is in the forecast, but that’s already happened once this season and apparently we’re in for another helping of El Nino’s wrath this week. Wednesday will bring the fifth significant storm of the 2009/2010 ski season to the Southeast with yet another “blizzard” warning with 60 mph winds, snow and extreme cold temperatures. I don’t think this next round will bring us five feet of snow and 6.6 billion dollars in damages like the March 93’ storm did, but hey we can keep our fingers crossed. Whatever it brings we’ll be grateful and I’ll continue to kick myself in the head for taking a break from full time skiing to full time talking about skiing. So what will you say when someone asks you, Where were you during the blizzard of 2010? Answer: Uh, which one?
What will this one bring?
Well as many of you may or may not know a "blizzard" is defined by the National Weather Service as "having sustained winds or frequent gusts reaching or exceeding 35 mph which lead to blowing snow and cause visibilities of ¼ mile (or 400 m) or less, lasting for at least 3 hours. Temperature is not taken into consideration when issuing a blizzard warning, but the nature of these storms is such that cold air is often present when the other criteria are met. Temperatures are generally below 0 °C (32 °F)."
For the NC Mountains today a mix changing to all snow by mid-morning with most accumulation near the NC/TN line between 3-5 inches. Tonight another 1-3 inches expected as well with the real fun starting late tonight and into Wednesday with extremely high winds, blowing snow and low visibility. Wind chills in the mountains could easily reach -30°F. Thursday the wind should continue and the cold weather and blowing snow will remain the issue.
West Virginia will see a mix as well changing to all snow by 10am. Windy today with 2-4 inches expected at Snowshoe. Another 2-4 inches tonight with wind chill values as low as -7°F. Wednesday a high of 13°F with blowing snow and additional accumulations of 3-7 inches and gusts as high as 44mph.
Virginia is about the same with most resort expecting 2-4 inches today and another 2-4 tonight. Windy with a high of 30 at Wintergreen and not much accumulation on Wednesday. Bryce resort should receive 1-3 inches today and 3-5 tonight with high winds on Wednesday.
Wisp up in Maryland might be the best place to ski or ride in the Mid Atlantic as they will receive 2-4 inches today, 4-8 inches tonight and 3-7 inches on Wednesday. Winds will continue but not be as strong as what we will see in North Carolina.
So yet again another Winter Weather Advisory for the Southeast and Mid Atlantic that should drop another 10-15 inches in Washington D.C. and surrounding areas bring high winds and white out conditions. What an amazing winter we’ve had so far and it’s just now half over. We’ll keep everyone updated as this storm develops and of course keep track of the snowfall during this 5th round of winter weather.
We’re on day 73 and there are 64 more days of opportunities to enjoy the snow for the 2009-2010 ski and snowboarding season!
That’s it for today. Go enjoy the snow! Check out the Snow Report at http://www.skisoutheast.com/skireports.php and please send us your favorite ski photos, ski videos, trip reports and comments to [email protected]