By Carra Higgins and Sarah Plummer
Snow has moved into the region and schools have begun to let out early and area events are being canceled or postponed and area shelters are opening.
Kevin Taylor, director of Beckley Emergency Services, said Raleigh County government agencies conducted a conference call at noon today to discuss plans of action. Currently, three shelters are being prepared. The shelters that will be open are the Dream Center, Raleigh County Community Action and the Commission on Aging. The Commission on Aging shelter is primarily for those with oxygen and medical-related needs.
Taylor said local public and private agencies are prepared and are currently waiting to see just how much snow and damage occurs. The unknown factors are exactly how much snow the area will receive and whether the power will go out.
Taylor added that he is hopeful area residents are also prepared, and if not there are still a few hours to pick up supplies.
In Nicholas County, schools will release students three hours early today and the city of Summersville Halloween Trick-or-Treat and Block Party scheduled for Tuesday evening has been postponed and new date has not been determined.
Rodney Evans, deputy director of the Nicholas County Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, is advising residents to check for canceled events or closings before going out. Evans says roads in Nicholas County are wet, but snow is steadily falling; and, some locations in higher elevations are reporting a few inches of snow on the grass and elevated surfaces.
Counties also releasing students early today are Greenbrier, two hour early dismissal and Fayette, dismisses at 1 p.m.
Snowfall and wind may interfere with Halloween activities. So far, the Sam’s Club Tailgate scheduled for 4:30 p.m. today at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center is canceled and a Tailgate Trick or Treat scheduled for Wednesday at the Greenbrier Valley Medical Center has also been canceled.
The Raleigh County Public Library closed at noon Monday, as did the YMCA Beckley Preschool.
Both the YMCA Beckley Facility and the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center (campus for Bluefield and Concord) will close at 2 p.m. The YMCA and YMCA Preschool are closed for Tuesday.
In addition, National Park Service Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services Robin Snyder announced all New River Gorge National River visitor centers, campgrounds and trails are closed due to the storm.
This includes Grandview, Canyon Rim, Sandstone and Thurmond Visitor Centers as well as camping near Thurmond, Price, Glade Creek Road, Backus Mountain Road, Cunard, Thayer, and Gauley River National Recreation Area.