The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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February 13, 2014

SLIDESHOW: Weather related accidents, outages fewer than expected

Officials still warn to use caution

BECKLEY — Although snow totals are well over a foot in most of southern West Virginia, 911 Center directors say they are pleasantly surprised with how few accidents and outages that have been reported.

Minor fender benders, a few cars that have slid into ditches and a couple jack-knifed tractor-trailers are all that have been reported across Fayette, Greenbrier, Nicholas, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers and Wyoming counties.

“It’s pretty calm,” said Shawn Wolford, Fayette County Emergency Operations Center director.

“We’ve had a few minor accidents here and there, but nothing significant by any means.



He cautioned drivers about Loops Road, near the Greenbrier County line, as it is always the area in the county that’s the heaviest hit.

“Unless you have four-wheel drive, then it’s pretty inaccessible.”

For everywhere else though, Wolford said to use caution if it’s an emergency, but if you don’t have to be out, stay home.

Greenbrier County EOC Director Al Whitaker said around 9 a.m. today most areas had 11 inches of snow.

Approximately 420 power outages were reported for a couple hours early this morning, but the outages were restored by 7 a.m.

“We haven’t had any roadways closed yet,” Whitaker said. “I’ve been very surprised.”

Although no roadways have been closed in Monroe County, EOC Director Tim Wilson said he would advise travelers to avoid secondary roads until Friday.

He said DOH had planned to start working on the secondary roads by midday, but the snow started falling heavily again, so they had to keep the focus on the main roads.

“The west side of the county has about a foot or so of snow and the east side has around 15 or 16 inches, maybe more than that now.”

Despite the blanket of snow, Wilson said everything is going relatively smoothly.

“It seems like people are staying off the roads.”

When the snow first began falling on Wednesday, Wilson said there were a few accidents, but today there has been only one report of a tractor-trailer stuck in the snow.

Traffic was blocked for about an hour on W.Va. 22, just before the Summers County line, but the roadway has since been cleared.

He described the snow falling early this morning as “fine and dry” but the snow falling at noon was “big, wet flakes,” which he said could create some problems.

Just over 14 inches of snow was recorded in Summersville, according to EOC Director Sheena McClung’s last report.

She said no major power outages have occurred in the area, and the few automobile accidents have been minor.

“The roads are still pretty bad, and the snow is still pouring.”

Raleigh County’s reports were on par with the other counties — a few fender-benders and a few cars in ditches.

EOC Director Marty Agee said, “We’ve been lucky so far.”

She said Raleigh County is expecting another 2 to 4 inches of snow today, and the snow was still falling steadily at noon.

“We’re hoping folks will stay off the roadways,” Agee said. “The DOH and city folks are working, but as soon as they get one area taken care of to head to the next, the place they just left is already snow-covered and hazardous again.”

She said DOH has not reported any road closings. A tractor-trailer slid sideways on Airport Road this morning, but that was cleared quickly.

Summers County has also been fortunate, with no accidents reported and no power outages of any significant numbers.

“We’ve got about a foot in Hinton and a little more on the mountains,” EOC Director Steve Lipscomb reported.

Like Monroe County, Summers County secondary roads are still snow-covered, as the DOH is concentrating on main roads first.

Wyoming County EOC Director Dean Meadows said, “We’ve been in good shape, actually.”

He said a couple accidents were reported early Wednesday evening, but no major accidents have happened and no roadways have been closed. No power outages have been reported either.

Pineville received about a foot of snow, but he said there were higher totals in higher elevations.

All EOC directors said shelters in each county are on standby at this point, but there has not been a need for them to open yet.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com

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