West Virginia’s coldest temperature Thursday morning will shock you

West Virginia

(WOWK) – Temperatures dropped in to the 50s across Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia on Thursday morning. Most of the state of West Virginia dropped down in to the 50s Thursday morning with the exception of one single site.

It’s well known in meteorological circles to be unusually cold on mornings where atmospheric conditions set up perfectly. No wind, clear skies and low moisture content allows for the dewpoint to drop and then the temperature follows suit quickly.

Welcome to the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge where the temperature dropped to a whopping 35 degrees Thursday morning! That’s right, the site recorded a reading just above freezing in the middle of August! Highs are expected to rebound to the low 80s Thursday afternoon.

It’s a great place to visit, a wonderfully peaceful place full of natural wonder, you just might need to keep the jacket handy.

Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the nation’s 500th was established on August 11, 1994, with the purchase of 86 acres. The refuge currently is 16,550 acres. The refuge works to preserve the unique wetlands and uplands of this high elevation, moist valley.

This graph, from the NWS Charleston, WV, captures the cold temperature drop.

The valley’s high elevation and position in the Allegheny Mountains combine to create a cool, moist climate more typical in Maine and Canada. Visitors enjoy snowy winters, cool summers and the expansive views looking over grasslands and wetlands. This climate supports species, like balsam fir, cottongrass, woodcock and fisher usually found farther north. Many plants and animals are near their southern limits amidst the valley’s rugged beauty. The refuge is home to 580 species of plants and 288 different animals; quite a diversity of life.

A patchwork of 23 wetland types, including bogs, shrub swamps and wet meadows carpet the valley floor. At about 8,500 acres, this is the largest wetland complex in the state of West Virginia, and is a regionally significant wetland complex within the southern Appalachians.

The ecological functions of wetlands provide valuable services to people. Wetlands absorb water like a sponge, slowing it down during heavy storms, thereby reducing downstream flooding. During times of drought wetlands slowly release water. They filter sediment, trash and pollutants. Without wetlands we would need more water treatment plants, flood control and bank stabilization projects, and relief from natural disasters. Canaan Valley’s wetlands provide great habitat for a diversity of dragonflies and damselflies.

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