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Storm dumps 2 feet of snow in parts of state

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Garrett Strahin, 8, braces for the impact of a snowball thrown by his sister, Katelynn, Wednesday in Masontown, W.Va.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A late winter storm dumped 2 feet of snow Wednesday in parts of West Virginia, closing schools in more than half the state and leaving more than 20,000 customers without power.The National Weather Service in Baltimore said the Pendleton County community of Franklin received 24 inches of snow. Other snowfall totals in eastern parts of the state included 17 inches in Romney, 14 inches in Circleville and Slanesville, and 11 inches in Berkeley Springs.In the eastern part of the state, the storm forced courts in Hampshire, Hardy and Pendleton counties to close, while Shepherd University canceled classes. The Jefferson County sheriff's department asked motorists to stay off snow-clogged roads.FirstEnergy reported more than 6,180 outages by 7 p.m. Wednesday evening, down from 18,400 earlier in the day. Most of the customers affected were in Pocahontas, Pendleton and Hardy counties.Meanwhile, numbers continued to drop throughout the day Wednesday in areas served by Appalachian Power as service was restored. About 2,200 Kanawha County customers were without power early Wednesday morning, but service was restored to all Kanawha County customers by the afternoon.Appalachian Power's website listed about 1,200 customers without electricity Wednesday evening. All were in Cabell County.In the state's central mountains, Shelly Groves has seen a constant coat of white on the ground ever since superstorm Sandy dumped more than 2 feet in late October in the Nicholas County community of Craigsville."Nothing but snow," Groves said Wednesday.The Hardware: That's Us store where she's a cashier sold out of 384 bags of salt Wednesday and had steady sales of gas cans and propane. Although Craigsville was spared the full brunt of the storm, 6 inches still fell by midday -- and everyone around is tired of it.
"I can't wait to go fishing and get out," Groves said. "It would be nice."She may have to wait a bit longer. Old Man Winter has been known to hang around a lot longer than the traditional start of spring in these parts. In fact, Snowshoe Mountain resort, 77 miles to the east, announced Tuesday it was keeping its ski slopes open through March 31."When you get snow, there isn't a whole lot you can do with it," Groves said. "Maybe ice fishing -- and that's even if you can get there to do that."Before the storm hit, the Nicholas County girls basketball team was able to leave Summersville on Tuesday for a trip to Charleston to play in the state basketball tournament, which began Wednesday.The Summersville area has seen its own problems over the past four months. Snow from superstorm Sandy caused numerous roof collapses, forcing a grocery store and a convenience store to close."It's really sad to see people suffer, when you have to buy gas for generators and you can't work because you're stuck and can't get out," Groves said.
So she and others are holding onto hope that warmer days are just ahead."We're waiting for it," Groves said.Gazette staff writer Rusty Marks contributed to this report.
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