By Carra Higgins
There are 14 more days until the official start of Spring, which is giving winter plenty of time to dump another several inches of snow on the region. Throughout today and into Thursday, southeast West Virginia is expected to receive between 2 to 9 inches of snow — depending on the location and elevation.
Raleigh, Nicholas and Fayette counties are expected to have temperatures hovering in the lower 30s today with heavy, wet snow continuing, the National Weather Service in Charleston said. Total accumulation for today will be between 2 and 4 inches; however, higher elevations in Raleigh, Nicholas and Fayette counties could receive a little more, according to the NWS. By Thursday afternoon, the snow should be making its way out of the area and giving way to some sunshine and temperatures around 40 Friday and continuing into the weekend.
To the east of Raleigh County, though, Greenbrier County is expected to get between 5 and 10 inches of snow and is under a winter storm warning, according to the NWS in Blacksburg, Va. Wind gusts in Greenbrier County could reach 40 miles per hour. Summers and Monroe counties are under a winter weather advisory. Summers County is expected to get 2 to 6 inches of snow with wind gusts reaching 50 miles per hour. Monroe County could get 1 to 4 inches and wind gusts to 45 miles per hour. A meteorologist with the NWS in Blacksburg said it could be early Friday before the storm moves out of those counties and an additional inch of snow could fall between Thursday night and Friday morning.
Appalachian Power Co. spokesman Phil Moye said crews are ready to respond to potential power outages because of the forecasted heavy, wet snow. The majority of work crews are staging in Beckley, Roanoke, Va., Lynchburg, Va. and Wytheville, Va., he said.
In the event of a major power outage, Mon Power will send updates via Twitter @MonPowerWV. Appalachian Power provides feeds and updates on Twitter @appalachianpower and on Facebook at facebook.com/AppalachianPower.
Forecasters say the eastern panhandle will likely be hardest hit in the state.
It’s National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, and with anywhere from 2 to 9 inches of heavy, wet snow moving into the region today and Thursday, there are steps you can take to ensure your safety to deal with snow, power outages and hazardous road conditions.
— Appalachian Power asks customers without power let them know and report any electrical hazards, such as downed lines, by calling 1-800-956-4237 and Mon Power customers should call 1-888-544-4877. Electric companies ask that you presume downed lines are charged and to stay away and do not touch.
— If the electric does go out, perishable food should be kept at temperatures 40 degrees or below. Federal agencies say placing a thermometer in your refrigerator will enable you to monitor the temperature. However, the United States Department of Agriculture advises perishable food should not be placed outside during snowstorms or cold weather. The USDA says outside temperatures can vary and food can be exposed to unsanitary conditions or animals. Instead, make ice by filling buckets, empty milk containers, or cans with water and leave them outside to freeze. Then, place the homemade ice in your refrigerator, freezer or coolers to keep food cold.
— Before a storm, homes should be stocked with at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food, such as ready-to-eat canned meats and vegetables, peanut butter and crackers, and at least one gallon of water for each person in the home; batteries; flashlights; necessary prescription medication; cash; and any special items for a baby, elderly or disabled family member.
— Road travel in snow and icy conditions should be avoided; however, in winter, vehicles should have a flashlight, batteries, blanket, snacks, water, gloves, boots, first-aid kit, ice scraper, tire chains and at least a half tank of gasoline.
— Homes should also have a snow shovel and rock salt to remove snow and ice; plenty of blankets and coats to stay warm and a battery-powered or hand-crank radio to listen for weather and storm-related updates.
— In the event of having no heat in a home, you should close unneeded rooms, stuff towels in the cracks of doors and cover windows at night. To ensure your body stays warm, it’s recommended that you wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing instead of one very heavy layer. A back-up heat source is also recommended.
— During and after a snowstorm, avoid overexertion when shoveling snow because it can cause a heart attack, which is a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, the Federal Emergency Management Agency says to stretch before going outside.
— At farms, animals should be provided with shelter and an ample supply of water. The National Weather service says most animal deaths that occur during winter storms are because of dehydration.
— Keep cell phones charged
— More information about being prepared for all types of severe weather can be found online at www.ready.gov/severe-weather