Heavy rain fell across West Virginia on October 19, 1961 as a strong storm moved up the east coast. At the same time cold air was moving southward through the Great Lakes region and into the Ohio valley. Because the storm was moving slowly the cold air moved in behind the storm before it moved away and out to sea. The rain changed to a record early, heavy, wet snow over the southern mountains of West Virginia – several places in the high terrain got more than a foot of the white stuff. Leaves were still on the trees, resulting in the worst forest disaster since forest fires in the state in 1952. Reports from the time said that “It got on the power lines and froze and broke some of those. The trees had such heavy loads of snow and leaves on them. They fell down across the roads and across the power lines.” Thousands had no power for weeks until it was restored.
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