“The last 13 days, from December 26 through January 7, are the coldest 13 days ever recorded in Canaan Valley, West Virginia’s official National Weather Service 73 year climate record,” read local weatherman Bob Leffler’s press release.
The warmest temperature recorded during that period was 24 degrees and the lowest temperature recorded in the valley was -13 degrees; however, “a new high quality research station in the Canaan Valley Wildlife Refuge located in a frost hollow, recorded two separate mornings of -25 degrees and -24 degrees on January 3 and January 7 respectively,” Leffler reported.
The average high temperature was 12 degrees and the average minimum was -2.9 degrees. “That yields a 13 day average temperature of 4.6 degrees, a whopping 2.5 degrees lower than the next coldest 13 day period in any other year,” Leffler reported.
Leffler compared the conditions of this 13 day cold snap to average January temperatures for the northernmost shores of Lake Superior in Canada, 700 miles north of Tucker County.
Although the length of consistent cold weather is historic, the recent snowfall does not even come close to breaking any records either; however, it is sufficient for those enjoying the winter activities.
Mike Chaney, ski area manager at Canaan Valley Resort, reported higher than expected numbers on the slopes. “It’s been great, we exceeded our expectation for December,” he said. “The weather has cooperated even though it’s been a little cold. The only trails that aren’t open should be open by the weekend.”
He reported that so far this is the best year he has seen in seven or eight years. The ski slope numbers were up five percent from last year and the tube park attendance was up 25 percent.
“Last December was great, so we are moving in the right direction,” Chaney said. He attributed part of the success to new snow blowing guns that were recently installed.
When visitors are coming to the resorts, they need a place to stay. Timberline Realty and Best of Canaan reported a successful holiday season.
Timberline Realty Manager Jennifer Raines said, “It was way better than last year, and we were 100 percent booked. Most people when they checked out, said it was wonderful, other than it was really cold.”
Best of Canaan Rental Manager Donna Patrick reported that all of the business’ 70 rentals were booked in between Christmas and New Years. “We had a lot of renters in from Florida this year, so they were super happy we had winter weather and snow,” Patrick said. “Last year it rained over Christmas, so people did a lot of hiking. I think people really had more of a winter vacation, so I think that is good for next year.”
Although cash flows in with the snow, not everyone benefits from these harsh conditions. Last Tuesday and Wednesday the Board of Education cancelled school because of the cold and icy conditions.
Sgt. Siler of the West Virginia State Police Detachment reported a few cars in ditches, but nothing major. “As far as that goes, it’s been pretty good,” he said. “We’ve had a hit and run in Davis, but other than that, only two car wrecks as far as our department goes,” he said.