More Wind Than Snow During Last Night’s Storm, 100+ MPH Gusts at Grandfather Mountain

Published Friday, April 7, 2017 at 11:56 am

This photo was taken at about 3800 feet in Watauga County. Photo by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

While some of the High Country woke up to a dusting of snow on Friday, the wind was arguably the weather story of the night.

The weather station at Grandfather Mountain recorded wind gusts up to 101.3 mph and a top wind speed of 63.1, according to the State Climate Office’s CRONOS database. This was recorded at 11 p.m. on Thursday, at which time the weather station stopped recording data.

While it’s unclear why the recording of weather data stopped, Sean Heuser of the State Climate Office said, “Some of our ECONet sites have wind speeds decreasing after 11 p.m., so that may be the highest [from] last night.”

Here’s RaysWeather.com’s recap of last night’s weather and forecast for the weekend: 

“Temperatures just could not overcome the season, squashing snow potential below 3500′. Light accumulations developed at 4000′. I’ll be interested to see morning reports from 5000′-land. We are left with morning flurries, lots of clouds, gusty winds, and unseasonably cold temperatures. Winds remain gusty through early Saturday. Clouds decrease tonight. Saturday afternoon will be significantly warmer but cool for April. Sunday will be terrific.”

Based on the archived snow totals at RaysWeather.com, Boone, Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain received considerably less snow than the previous 5-year average. Sugar Mountain, for example, received 31.8 inches of snow so far during the 2016-17 winter, while it averaged about 80 inches of snow from 2011-12 through 2015-16. 

Also, Beech Mountain saw only four snowfalls greater than or equal to 2 inches this past winter. This compares to an average of 15 such snowfalls from 2011-12 through 2015-16.  

Schools didn’t miss a beat on Friday morning with buses running on a normal schedule. Garrett Price, spokesman for Watauga County Schools, said, “We’ve had seven (7) snow days so far this year — that’s roughly half the number we usually expect. We are having a full day of school today. Even in our most remote sections of the district (Beech Mountain, Bethel, etc.) the storm didn’t really amount to anything.”

According to RaysWeather.com, these are the following snow totals for the past six years. Note that the 2016-17 totals are through April 7, 2017.

Boone

  • 2016-17: 16.6 inches*
  • 2015-16: 25.1 inches; 8 snowstorms occurred after Feb. 14
  • 2014-15: 27.7 inches; 10 snowstorms occurred after Feb. 14
  • 2013-14: 37.8 niches; 10 snowstorms occurred after Feb. 14
  • 2012-13: 36.1 inches; 20 snowstorms occurred after Feb. 14
  • 2011-12: 13.7 inches; 4 snowstorms occurred after Feb. 14

Beech Mountain

  • 2016-17: 31.8 inches*
  • 2015-16: 69.8 inches; 11 snowstorms occurred after Feb. 14
  • 2014-15: 68.7 inches; 10 snowstorms occurred after Feb. 14
  • 2013-14: 76.2 inches; 9 snowstorms occurred after Feb. 14
  • 2012-13: 104.9 inches; 18 snowstorms occurred after Feb. 14
  • 2011-12: 48.7 inches; 6 snowstorms occurred after Feb. 14

Sugar Mountain

  • 2016-17: 31.8 inches*
  • 2015-16: 66 inches; 8 snowstorms occurred after Feb. 14
  • 2014-15: 77.3 inches; 11 snowstorms occurred after Feb. 14
  • 2013-14: 86.5 inches; 9 snowstorms occurred after Feb. 14
  • 2012-13: 120 inches; 18 snowstorms occurred after Feb. 14
  • 2011-12: 48.5 inches; 6 snowstorms occurred after Feb. 14

*Totals through April 7, 2016-17

 

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