BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – The weather was pretty chilly Monday and even colder weather is in store, but it was not a lot of fun for motorists in our region back on Dec. 18 and 19 in 2009.
In what is locally named the “Turnpike Trapper”, motorists traveling south from Charleston to Beckley began encountering worsening road conditions due to extremely heavy snow. The snow caused accidents, including semis jackknifing and resulted in a complete shutdown.
The shutdown of the Turnpike lasted between 15 and 20 hours with 800 to 900 motorists unable to turn around and having to wait it out until emergency responders and highway crews could reopen the road, according to Meteorologist Ken Batty, who worked with the National Weather Service.
According to Batty, local residents described the snowfall rates as the heaviest they had ever observed and the size of the snowflakes as the largest they had ever seen.
The storm left thousands of local residents in the dark, as many areas experienced over a foot of snow – Marlinton in Pocahontas County received 26 inches of wet snow! Until the following year in 2010, it was the snowiest December on record for Beckley.