10/30/2012 04:33 pm ET Updated Oct 31, 2012

Sandy Dumps Snow In West Virginia, Raising Skiers' Hopes

It wasn't flooding but a two-day blizzard that Hurricane Sandy brought to the mountain ridges and hollows of West Virginia -- dumping so much snow that even the ski-area operators were complaining, mildly.

"We got snow, sure, but the roads are closed," said Chip Chase, founder and co-owner of the White Grass Nordic ski resort near Davis, W.Va. "Only people here came in by helicopter -- just kidding! It'll take a road grader to get these roads open," he said. Outside, 35 inches of dry, powdery show made for great snowshoeing, but the skiing was a tad difficult, Chase allowed. "It's pretty good if you stay on top of it."

The larger problem was the weather: 28 degrees and winds up to 40 miles per hour blowing drifts four to six feet high, with more snow forecast through Wednesday morning.

Across the northeastern part of West Virginia, where snowfall in the mountains above 2,500 feet was significant, 121,559 households were without power, said Mark Nitowski, a spokesman for Mon Power Co. The eastern portion of Interstate 68, the major east-west corridor across the top of the state, was closed, along with more than 30 other major routes, according to the Associated Press.

President Obama declared West Virginia a federal disaster area. But the snow spurred hope in the ski industry that after a disastrous winter a year ago, the 2012-2013 season was starting off well.

"Soon as the roads are open, we're gonna be rockin,'' Chase told The Huffington Post exuberantly. "Last winter was tough, we had so little snow. We're hoping this'll be different."

Over at the Snowshoe resort, in the Monongahela National Forest west of Charlottesville, Va., Sandy's snow was considered so premature that the snow-making machines were still going full tilt. "We got a full-on blizzard," said David Dekema, Snowshoe's marketing director, who was hunkered down indoors.

Snowshoe aims to open for Thanksgiving, and it needs to lay down a good base for skiers. The 18 inches of Sandy's snow on the ground isn't enough. "We go out to groom that, we'd be churning up dirt," Dekema said.

"We love to see the snow, but it gets people thinking they can come on Saturday while we're still weeks away from opening," he said.

In the meantime, Dekema said, "with the conditions here, people have more things on their mind than coming out for a day of skiing. We got a state of emergency here."


The Huffington Post is eager for insights from our community, especially people with experience in power, infrastructure and engineering, on the adequacy of emergency preparation in advance of Hurricane Sandy, and the degree to which past disasters have informed adequate planning and construction. Please send a note to sandytips@huffingtonpost.com with insights and suggestions for the important questions that need to be asked of relevant private sector and government officials, and point us toward stories that need to be pursued.



Superstorm Sandy Blankets West Virginia

11/04/2012 12:26 AM EDT

PHOTO: A Marathon Wedding Proposal, Minus The Marathon

HuffPost's Katie Bindley reports:

Like all the competitors who trained for the 2012 NYC Marathon, Hannah Vahaba will not be running the race this year. But she also will never forget her moment at the finish line. After traveling in from Atlanta, Vahaba picked up a marriage proposal in Central Park on Saturday without having to traverse the 26.2-mile course.

"This is my fiance," said Vahaba, 31, who had tears running down her face as she stood in Central Park where the race would have ended, just moments after Martin O'Donoghue had proposed.

marriage proposal cancelled nyc marathon

Photo by Damon Scheleur

Read the full story here.

11/04/2012 12:25 AM EDT

Check Donation Lists

Be sure to check donation lists to see what items are needed. For example, at one Staten Island donation center, there is a critical need for batteries batteries batteries, candles, matches, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, pet food, baby supplies, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner. Clothing isn't needed as much at that center.

-Catharine Smith, HuffPost

11/03/2012 10:42 PM EDT

Brooklyn Regions Still Lack Electricity, Heat and Water Days After Storm

HuffPost's Tim Stenovec reports:

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which killed at least 48 people in New York when it battered the Northeast last week, frustrated residents in this corner of South Brooklyn are coping without electricity, heat and running water.

Read the full story here.

11/03/2012 10:18 PM EDT

On Long Island, Cuomo demands Accountability from Utilities

Huntington Patch reports:

At a massive food distribution event at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, Cuomo said power has been restored to 60 percent of the New York metropolitan area.

LIPA reported Saturday evening that 460,000 customers remained without power, down from more than 900,000 initially.

"I've warned the utility companies repeatedly they operate under a state charter, essentially," Cuomo said. "The utility companies are not happy with my warning and frankly, I don't care."

"The customers are not happy. The bill payers are not happy and the people without power are not happy," Cuomo said. "People are suffering. It is an issue of safety and if the utilities were not prepared we will hold them accountable."

Read the full story on Huntington Patch.

11/03/2012 9:38 PM EDT

Gasoline Shortage Likely To Last For Several More Days

Even as power returns to parts of the region assailed by Hurricane Sandy, millions of drivers seeking gasoline appear likely to face at least several more days of persistent shortages.

Read the full story here.

11/03/2012 8:50 PM EDT

Behind @ConEdison: The 27 Year-Old Preventing Panic, One Tweet At A Time

HuffPost's Bianca Bosker:

On Saturday, 27-year-old Kate Frasca was manning Con Edison’s Twitter account, @ConEdison, responding to customers’ frustrations, questions, praise and criticism at an average clip of one tweet every six minutes.

Read the full story here.

11/03/2012 8:35 PM EDT

Estimate Says 600 Million Gallons Of Water Hit Mass Transit System


Roughly 600 M gallons of storm water infiltrated the nation’s busiest and oldest underground mass transit system... http://t.co/5jMXDhRc

11/03/2012 8:15 PM EDT

$12 Million Donated So Far To NYC Mayor's Fund For Recovery

@ MikeBloomberg :

If you would like to donate: visit http://t.co/9w8egqxD So far $12 million has been contributed. 100% of funds go to #Recovery efforts.

11/03/2012 7:52 PM EDT

Don't Touch Downed Power Lines

@ usNWSgov :

Post #Sandy reminders: never touch a downed power line or anything touching one. Washing your hands prevents illness. #NWS #CDC

11/03/2012 7:17 PM EDT

Volunteers Arrive In Staten Island

@ NYCMayorsOffice :

Volunteers Descend on Staten Island Neighborhood http://t.co/9aP3ggJN