October snow hits High Country
A rare October snowstorm produced by an uncommon East Coast
weather event resulted in poor road conditions, school closings and impromptu winter activities —
all before the last red and yellow leaves had fallen from High Country trees.
As coastal areas from North Carolina to the northeast experienced heavy rain, high winds, storm surges and flooding from Hurricane Sandy — which made landfall in New Jersey on Monday — the storm system combined with an upper low to bring colder air and snow to the mountains, the National Weather Service said.
As of 7 a.m. Tuesday, a NWS observer reported 5.6 inches of snow accumulation in Boone, according to NWS meteorologist Chris Fisher in Blacksburg, Va. The Beech Mountain Police Department reported eight inches of snow at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Fisher said.
Temperatures ranged between the upper 20s and mid-30s in the High Country on Monday and Tuesday. As heavy, wet snow combined with gusty winds, Blue Ridge Electric reported that 5,837 members were affected by power outages during the storm, with most occurring Monday night.
Watauga County Schools cancelled classes for students on Tuesday and Wednesday. Appalachian State University cancelled classes on Tuesday but held classes as scheduled on Wednesday.
Sugar Mountain Ski Resort quickly worked to take advantage of the early snowfall, announcing on Monday its plans to open on Halloween — the earliest opening in the resort’s 43-year history. As of Tuesday, the resort announced it had received nine inches of natural snowfall, and snow guns began operating on Sunday.