Blacksburg experienced a different type of spring shower, as snow blanketed the region this past weekend.
Starting Sunday morning, two-to-four inches of snow fell in Blacksburg. The wider New River Valley, including Roanoke, saw as much as six-to-seven inches making it the biggest March snowstorm in a decade.
Michael Sporer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Blacksburg, said Blacksburg can expect more snow showers and flurries for the next couple days but no more accumulation. According to the National Weather Service forecast, temperatures will rise steadily after Thursday, reaching the high 40’s by the weekend.
Many students were surprised by the snow after Saturday’s high in the mid 50’s. However, Sporer said March snowfall is not unheard of.
“It's definitely not what you'd expect normal spring weather to be, but it's also not unprecedented,” Sporer said. “These things happen from time to time.”
Sporer said one of the biggest storms in his memory happened 20 years ago on March 13, 1993, during what has been called the “Storm of the Century.” Strong winds, coupled with a low-pressure system, caused upward of 32 inches of snow to fall in Blacksburg.
Ten years later, on March 20, 2003, more than 10 inches fell in the region a day after temperatures in the 70’s.
“These things can happen in March,” Sporer said. “It's a transitional season, and we can get strange weather sometimes.”
The sudden snow caused many students to stay in, but those who had to drive found adverse conditions on some roads.
“I generally have trouble getting to work in the snow because I work in Christiansburg, and I drive a Mustang,” said Anthony Delano, a junior HNFE major. His work meeting was ultimately canceled because so many employees could not make the drive in the storm.
When unexpected storms like this one happen, information from meteorologists like Sporer gets passed on to Kelly Mattingly, public works director for the Town of Blacksburg. His responsibilities include keeping drivers like Delano safe by plowing the town’s roads.
"We keep a really good eye on the storm (and), we try to get a full crew in long before the snow is expected to start,” said Mattingly. “They were able to jump on it pretty quickly.”
Others had different reasons to see silver linings in the dark snow clouds.
“I love the snow, because I think it’s beautiful,” said Bryce Renick, a junior mechanical engineering major. “But the real reason I want it to snow is that it gives me hope of getting out of class.”
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