CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A cold snap prompted a West Virginia ski resort to shut its slopes Tuesday, broke a century-old temperature record in at least one city and public school students in all 55 counties were told to stay home on perhaps the most frigid day in their lifetimes.
Among the cities reporting record lows included Wheeling at minus 10, Beckley at minus 9 and Morgantown at minus 7. Beckley broke a mark that had stood since 1912. And Beckley, Parkersburg (6 below), Huntington (4 below) and Charleston (3 below) were among the cities to have their coldest readings for any date since Feb. 5, 1996.
The arctic front knocked out power to thousands of customers. About 3,700 FirstEnergy customers and 1,800 Appalachian Power customers in West Virginia remained without service Tuesday afternoon.
At the federal courthouse in Clarksburg, workers removed carpeting and furniture damaged by ruptured water pipes that had frozen in an air-handling system, flooding the offices of Judge Irene Keeley and Magistrate John Kaull on Monday.
Although power-grid operator PJM Interconnection asked users in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and South to conserve energy, Appalachian Power vice president of distribution operations Phil Wright said Tuesday the request wasn't mandatory for the company's 1 million customers in West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee.
"Voluntarily conserving electricity can help ensure adequate power supplies for everyone and lessens the likelihood that service will be interrupted," Wright said.
The National Weather Service said the morning low at Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Pocahontas County dipped to 20 below zero, but that didn't stop skiers and snowboarders from taking to the slopes by midday.
There was no such activity at Canaan Valley Ski Resort in Davis, which closed its slopes due to dangerous conditions, said West Virginia Ski Areas Association spokesman Joe Stevens.