Highlight Hollywood refuses to forget those in Hurricane Sandy’s Frankenstorm path. And West Virginia may not have taken the beating New Jersey’s coastline and much of New York City, from Queens to Lower Manhattan. But, the effects of Frankenstorm, Sandy ravaged West Virginia’s beautiful mountains and its strong and wonderful residents with a major blizzard, and early in the snow season, even for the mountainous region west of the Commonwealth of Virginia, which used to be Virginia itself, before it became its own state. West Virginia’s storm from the = hurricane morphed into an unforgettable killer snow storm. Literally. The state sits hundreds of miles southwest of where the brunt of Sandy hit. Nonetheless, it shut off electricity to more than 200,000 customers, officials said, and claimed the lives of at least five people. “When they describe it in terms of it being a once-in-a-lifetime storm it sounds cliche, but it is exactly that,” said CNN iReporter Allison Vencel from her home in Morgantown. She should know. She used to live in Alaska, so she knows what snow storms are like.
It was very much like an Alaskan blizzard, Vencel said, describing it as “absolutely the most unique storm situation I have ever seen. Just a monster.”
Because it slammed into the region at night, Vencel said the storm was largely invisible. “You couldn’t see it, as much as you could feel and hear the swaying of the trees,” she said, remembering the howling wind and glimpses of snow flying sideways.
When the Frankenstorm finally ended, Morgantown and much of the rest of the state found itself buried in heavy snow and fallen trees. Officials said 28 of the state’s 55 counties were hit by snowfall. “It was a triple punch to West Virginia,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin told CNN. “Lots of heavy rain that turned into blizzard conditions, and high winds.”
On Wednesday, conditions remained dangerous. Officials offered examples of the randomness of Sandy’s wrath across the state. Even one 60-year-old man was killed by a falling tree. Elsewhere, a 65-year-old man died from a heart attack while shoveling snow. In a third instance, a woman lost her life in a weather-related traffic accident.
“Restoring power is the the thing we are working hardest on,” said the governor.
West Virginia is no stranger to storms — just three months ago, a storm knocked out power in all but two counties. What made Sandy worse was the combination of no power and freezing temperatures. It’s a non-ending project to get the roads opened up.
Greg Philips, West Virginia highway manager
“The problem is the wet snow,” said Greg Philips, a state highway manager in charge of snow plows. “It’s really hard to get [it] off the road and it’s really heavy.” The snow gets so bad, he told CNN affiliate WDTV, that after clearing one section of highway, “you look behind you and it’s covered again. It’s a non-ending project to get the roads opened up.”
In some areas, the heavy snow threatened building roofs. Highlight Hollywood will stay on Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath, even though it’s depressing, until all residents on the east coast are with power and as close to back to normal as they can be.
Good luck! Please donate to the American Red Cross and request your donation be given to the region affected by the Frankenstorm.
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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