CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As they watched the converging weather systems over the past several days, forecasters at the National Weather Service offices in Charleston thought local residents would see little snow.
Instead, Tuesday's snowfall far surpassed that of any October day and nearly equaled all of the snow that fell last winter.
The experts were caught a bit off guard, to put it lightly.
"I don't know what happened between Friday and yesterday," Faith Borden, the warning coordination meteorologist in Charleston, said Tuesday.
As of about 3 p.m., 10.1 inches had fallen in the Charleston area.
The previous high for any October day in the past 109 years was 2.8 inches on Oct. 20, 1961.
Last winter saw a total of 11.7 inches.
The early snow came as a result of two factors, Borden said: Hurricane Sandy brought massive amounts of moisture into the area, and that mixed with a cold front over the weekend.
"How often do you get a tropical system that produces a blizzard?" Borden said, standing a few feet from the office's control center.
Meteorologists are their own worst critics, Borden said, but overall she thought predictions for the rest of the state were accurate.
She and the rest of the team began monitoring the storm more closely as it approached, shifting their attention from three-day and extended forecasts to 24-hour predictions.