CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Like many residents, local officials were expecting just a dusting of snow from Hurricane Sandy on Monday night, and were surprised to wake up to several inches of snow in the Charleston area.
"My last conversation with them [Monday], they were saying a dusting on the hills. Here we are, there's [several] inches on the hill," said Gary Taylor, public works director for the city of Charleston.
Most of the problems in the city were on the hilltops, where the snow piled the deepest, Taylor said.
"One of the biggest issues is Mount Alpha [Road, south of Kanawha City]," Taylor said. "They've had power lines down since 4 or 5 in the morning. Hampton Road is shut down."
Liz Somerville, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Charleston, said that the unexpectedly heavy snowfalls in the area came because Hurricane Sandy's path was slightly farther north than expected.
"If it would have tracked slightly south, we wouldn't have seen anything," she said. "Since it tracked a little bit north of [where we expected] we wound up with a decent snowstorm."
Snow-filled pathways blocked power company crews from assessing transmission line damage that knocked out service to nearly 47,000 Kanawha County residents Tuesday night, said County Commission President Kent Carper. Those without power should seek shelter for several days, he said.
Faced with the unexpected snowfall, local officials scrambled to get the roads clear.