BECKLEY WV (WVNS) – With the first snow of 2022 looming on the horizon, you might be asking: when was the earliest snow recorded in West Virginia?
In Southern West Virginia, snowfall usually doesn’t approach the same levels as the northern and eastern parts of the state, but areas like Flat Top and other areas of the Allegheny Mountains can still receive high snowfall or be the first to receive it.
So, when was the earliest recorded snowfall that blanketed the valleys and the mountains of West Virginia? The months that see the least snowfall in the state are June, July, August, and September. Snowfall usually starts in November and ends as late as March. Late October is the earliest time that snow usually falls in the area, but some records have shown earlier times.
The earliest recorded time snow has covered the Valleys of West Virginia, and not just the mountains, including the Beckley area was on October 10, 1979. During that year, snow surprised the entire east coast! Local newspaper clippings from several different states all show how surprising such an early snow was.
Some local stories might say that snowfall has been seen as early as September, but the National Weather Service corroborates this measurement, measuring all of the earliest snowfall events for West Virginia in October.
Another record snowstorm hit the area in October far more recently. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy hit the Mid-Atlantic and brought some of the heaviest snow in years. That storm arrived toward the end of October, however, which is much more common.
Both of these storms are examples of the earliest snowfall that can be seen in West Virginia. This year is looking similar, with projections showing snowfall starting as early as this week.