Snowstorm was biggest in city in 12 years


First Posted: 12/21/2009

The snowstorm that hit Mount Airy during the weekend was the biggest in the city in 12 years, a search through local weather records has revealed.
In all, 7.5 inches of the white stuff blanketed this area Friday and Saturday, according to a spokesman at the citys F.G. Doggett Water Plant. That facility is Mount Airys official weather-monitoring station.
Just as many local business and home owners have done in recent days in driveways and parking lots, water-plant personnel had to do some digging to determine when the last such blast by Old Man Winter occurred here.
This research found that a snowstorm on Dec. 30, 1997 which dumped 8.0 inches on Mount Airy was the only one exceeding this weekends total over the past dozen years.
Some good-sized snowfalls have occurred during that period, however, including one reported for Jan. 18, 2000, which dumped 7 inches on Mount Airy.
Other larger accumulations in recent years in Mount Airy, which show December to be a heavy month in this regard, have included:
A major storm on March 13-14, 1993, which brought 7 inches the first day and 4 the next for a total of 11 inches;
One in February 1989, which produced 10.5 inches;
Snowfall of six and one-fourth inches, recorded here on Dec. 21, 1993;
Another storm that brought 5 inches on Dec. 5, 2002;
A two-day total of 2.5 inches, recorded on Dec. 3-4, 2003.
The past weekends measurement already has exceeded the total received during all of last winter in Mount Airy. Only one significant snowfall occurred here during the winter of 2008-09, a March 2 event that brought 1.50 inches.
This region experienced unusually high levels of snow during the 1960s and 1970s and into the 1980s, with the totals of recent years matching historically normal patterns.
Weather records have been kept in Mount Airy since 1924.
The weekend snowfall was much heavier in areas of Virginia and West Virginia, with blockages on Interstate 77 in the latter state leading authorities to close both northbound and southbound lanes of that highway Saturday night.
This caused some motorists to be stranded.
More than 20 inches of snow was dumped on some mountainous sections of West Virginia.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.

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