Much of the Blue Ridge Mountain region saw heavy snowfall this weekend as a result of Winter Storm Jonas, but one peak in particular recorded more accumulation than any other.
At 6,683 feet, North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell is the tallest mountain East of the Mississippi River. As a result of its towering elevation, Mitchell caught the brunt of the recent storm system and racked up a record 66 inches of snow. That’s an astonishing 5.5 feet.
The previous record, set during the blizzard of 1993, was 50 inches.
“I haven’t heard anywhere else in the nation getting close to those totals,” meteorologist Jeffrey Taylor with the National Weather Service office in Greer, South Carolina told the Asheville Citizens Times.
“Mount Mitchell just happened to be in the sweet spot of this storm.”Mount Mitchell is part of North Carolina’s state park system. Park employees who were present at the time, tasked with maintaining the park’s network of roads, reported white-out conditions.
“Friday we got hammered. It was brutal,” park superintendent Bryan Wilder told the Citizen Times. “We had 4 or 5 inches an hour, and you really couldn’t tell if you were on the road or not.”
As evidenced by the above photos, captured by Western North Carolina photographer Halley Burleson, snow began falling on Mitchell as early as Saturday, Jan.16, but the storm didn’t hit hard until later that week.
According to the Citizen Times 8.5 inches were recorded Thursday, 11 inches on Friday, and a mind-boggling 41 inches on Saturday.