Winter Storm Jonas Hits Tyler County
SISTERSVILLE – This winter storm has a name – Jonas!
Folks across Tyler and Wetzel counties got to meet Jonas up close and personal Friday and Saturday as the storm dumped inches of snow in near and far places. Tyler and Wetzel counties’ schools were canceled for several days.
“There is no denying the beauty of the snow and the squeals of delight from the children,” said Peggy Sue George of Middlebourne. “But, to EMS workers, snow presents unforeseen problems. A normal run once taking approximately 1 hour turned into a 4 hour adventure with trees down in the roads and having snow approximately 17 inches deep where you are trying to get out of the ambulance doors.
Sometimes having to walk up hills and crossing ice filled creeks by foot. This is our jobs and just something we have to do, but to watch neighbors taking care of neighbors, by shoveling snow and bringing medicines and food in to them, checking on the elderly is the most beauty that the snow brings…others helping other a most beautiful sight.”
Among other duties, Sistersville Volunteer Fire Department cleared the parking lot at the Sistersville General Hospital.
“We’re still on call, however we’re not standing by at the station,” SVFD Chief Jason Wayne said. “Since the storms moved out and the main roadways are clear, our guys went to dig their sidewalks out and get caught up on rest. They did spend the night keeping the parking lot at the station clear, kept the hospital ER entrance clear and the squad building lot clear.”
Wayne had praise for the firefighters who volunteered their time during the snow storm.
“I’m not gonna single out one member for going above and beyond because each one of them went above and beyond what’s expected of them,” he said. “We’ve got a dedicated group of firefighters that do so much and I can’t commend them enough.”
Tom Cooper, director of the Tyler County Office of Emergency Management, said though the storm was bad, it could have been a lot worse.
“I did not receive one call pertaining to the storm! I checked with dispatch the morning after and they had no reports of problems.,” he said. “The air coming in from Canada was colder then expected making the snow light and fluffy. If the snow would have been heavy as predicted it could have been very serious. We had no calls for shelters. I think this was the same for most of West Virginia.”
Tonya Wade of Tyler County said the storm leaves behind memories like footprints in the snow.
“I think the best thing about snowstorms are the memories that they leave behind,” she said. “I’m not talking about the bad , but about the good. The memories and feelings that stay with you for a lifetime and make you feel happy that you are alive.”
Wade noted how Nature teaches lessons that endure.
“Nature is one of life’s most perfect teachers,” she said. “Like the way the world looks when the sun hits the freshly fallen snow on the ground. The way it shimmers and sparkles and imitates the most perfect diamond. And for just a moment when you catch yourself looking at them for a small period of time you feel like the richest person in the world.”
Wade said the storm offered a moment of beauty that resonates with the soul when the sun starts to go down in the time frame between the darkness and light as night falls the beautiful blue hue that everything seems to fall under,.
“The ground, the hills, the streets, the sky all bathed in blueness,” she said. “I think it’s one of the most beautiful things in the world. Such a perfect color of blue almost like the deep blue of an ocean during a storm except instead of an ocean of water an ocean of snow stands in front of you.”
And then there was a not-so-pretty aspect of the winter weather. Tiffany Hayes of Sistersville discovered a cat shivering and nearly frozen to death underneath her trampoline Sunday morning. She said the cat’s tail appeared as if it had been cut off.
“I didn’t think the cat was alive at first,” she said. “It didn’t look like it was breathing and it had icicles on its fur, but then it started moving.”
Hayes said her family carried the cat to the Olive Branch, a no-kill animal shelter located near Sistersville. She said hopes for the best for the cat. According to the family, the cat passed away.
The National Weather Service called for mostly sunny conditions during the early part of the week with temperatures ranging from the upper 20s to the low 40s.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared Friday a statewide State of Emergency, activating state resources to combat winter weather conditions and ensure the safety of residents across the state.
“I’m grateful for the work of our Department of Transportation and West Virginia National Guard to mobilize state resources during the State of Preparedness I issued Wednesday,” Gov. Tomblin said. “These efforts have allowed us to put together the resources we need to prepare for the inclement weather of Winter Storm Jonas.
A State of Emergency declaration does not mean the state will receive federal assistance.
West Virginians needing assistance should contact their local offices of emergency management. Contact information for each county office can be found at
www.dhsem.wv.gov/Important%20Contact%20Numbers/Pages/default.aspx. For updates on the state’s response efforts, including lists of warming stations and shelters, power outages, road closures and weather conditions, please visit the state’s official Facebook page for Winter Storm Jonas: www.facebook.com/WVJonas?.