If your morning commute was an irritating version of “Ice Capades” Friday morning, then as the South Park Moms once sang, “Blame Canada! Blame Canada!”

Thursday night, an Alberta clipper, a storm system that comes out of Alberta, Canada, through the Midwest and onward into the mid-Atlantic, pushed through the Beckley area, said John Victory, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston. The NWS had expected some light snow accumulation, but the area received much more.

“The system squeezed just about every bit of moisture it had available, and it gave most areas a good couple of inches,” he said.

Storm totals varied, mainly depending on elevation, according to NWS data. Beckley received about a half inch of snow, Victory said. However, other areas in Raleigh County with higher elevations received about 1 to 2 inches. Oak Hill received 2 inches, and that was the only data available for Fayette County.

Storm totals in Nicholas County were much higher, as areas farther north were hit harder, he said. Richwood received 4.2 inches, and 3 inches of snow fell in Mount Nebo. Only a half inch fell in Summersville, where the elevation is lower.

Five inches of snow fell in Quinwood, but only an inch fell in Lewisburg in Greenbrier County, said Jeff Stewart, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va. Summers and Monroe counties received only light or trace amounts.

In Wyoming County, Oceana and Pineville only received trace amounts as well, Victory said.

“There was not much south of Raleigh (County),” he said.

While snowfall totals may have been light, sudden ice — all over Raleigh County — caught highway crews off guard and made Friday’s morning commute a headache.

Around 5 a.m., wet roadways all over the county unexpectedly froze, making just about every roadway slick, said Jeff Lilly, Raleigh County highway supervisor for the state Division of Highways.

“It was difficult for us to be everywhere at once,” he said. “We did things on a priority basis, going to the roads most traveled first.”

Between 6 and 9 a.m., W.Va. 3 traffic was held up in the Mount Tabor area when a large truck hauling rocks got stuck on a slick upward grade, he said. Aggravating the situation more was the fact that salt trucks were stuck behind the truck — and all the other traffic. The situation was solved when a DOH salt truck came in from another direction, poured salt and got the truck going again.

“It compounded the situation,” Lilly said. “It’s a real problem when your (salt) trucks can’t get out.”

On Airport Road, a truck jackknifed, blocking the roadway near the intersection of U.S. 19 around 7 a.m., he said. Near Ghent, several cars went into ditches overnight Thursday. Other problem areas included Harper Road and Spruce Mountain.

Crews were expected to work through the night Friday, continuing to treat the roads, Lilly said.

“We are asking that the public take extra caution and keep an eye out for our trucks as we are out working and trying to serve them,” he said.

The National Weather Service classified the snow as a minor weather event. But if Old Man Winter knocked on doors Thursday night, he could kick them in Sunday to Monday.

Today, the NWS is not expecting much precipitation until well into late afternoon, possibly keeping area Christmas parades dry, Victory said. However, precipitation is expected to start falling, first as ice, then changing to rain. Temperatures are expected to remain above freezing in the mid-30s. Temperatures are not expected to drop much overnight.

Sunday, temperatures are expected to warm to 40 degrees, with rain ending, he said.

However, this may be the calm before the storm. Literally.

The NWS predicts another system could come through the area Sunday into Monday and bring “significant” snowfall, possibly 5 to 10 inches, Victory said. The snow is expected to hit as far south as Wyoming County, as far north as Nicholas County, and reach as far east as Greenbrier County.

However, the system could change, and it will have to be monitored heavily by the NWS until it actually comes.

“Keep an eye on this second storm,” Victory said. “A lot of things could happen as it gets closer.”

Stewart said what the storm will do is too close to call.

“We get new models of this storm every six hours,” he said. “It’s very inconsistent. It’s very iffy right now.”

— E-mail:

apridemore@register-herald.com

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