April Blizzard in Cannan Valley, West Virginia

April 29, 2016

Color blanced snow

Photographer: Josh Brenneman
Summary Authors: Robert Leffler; Josh Brenneman

The photo above was taken on the Bald Knob cross-country ski trail the day after an April blizzard blasted Canaan Valley, West Virginia. This storm dumped 19 in (48 cm) of snow in the Canaan Valley area on April 8-9, 2016. Canaan's 3,250 ft (991 m) valley floor is the highest, large valley floor (50 sq mi or 129 sq km) in eastern North America. Powdery wind-driven snow resulted in near zero visibility at times and produced drifts about 8 ft (2.5 m) high, as shown above.

Season-to-date snowfall in the area is now at 128 in (325 cm), nearing the 30-year climatological average of 130-150 in (330-381 cm). Following the storm passage, the temperature at the official National Weather Service Canaan Valley weather station hit a low temperature on the 10th of 1 F (-17 C), just shy of the 72-year record low April temperature of -2 F (-19 C) on April 10, 1985. Unofficial temperatures elsewhere in the valley reportedly reached -8 F (-22 C).

While this was indeed a big April snowstorm, it's not the largest April snowstorm to occur in the immediate Canaan Valley vicinity. For example, on April 27-28, 1928, 30 in (71 cm) was measured, and from April 2-4, 2004, 21 in (53 cm) was tallied. Photo taken on April 10, 2016. Click here to see a brief video of this blizzard taken from the summit of Bald Knob.