Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

February 12, 2014

Possible 10 inches of snow could impact area

BLUEFIELD — Highway crews are bracing for a powerful winter storm that could dump several inches of wet, heavy snow upon the region today.

The entire region remains under a winter storm warning through 6 p.m. Thursday. Forecasters say heavy snow is expected later this afternoon into Thursday morning. Accumulations could range from 6 to 10 inches, and if the snow proves to be wet and heavy, power outages could occur.

“It is the type of snow that has a decent water content that makes it heavy,” Dennis Sleighter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va., said. “It is the type that will bring down tree limbs, and possibly power lines. It will be the type you don’t brush off with a broom. It definitely has an impact on trees. It weighs those down. So the potential for power outages is there.”

Sleighter said the snow should begin falling anytime between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. today. He said the heaviest of the snow will come from sunset to late tonight.

At this point, it doesn’t look like the storm will miss the region, West Virginia Division of Highways District 10 Manager Tom Camden said.

“I do believe from everything that I’ve seen that we are going to get something,” Camden said. “With a storm like this — one difference as opposed to us getting say 2 to 3 inches — a storm like this involves more plowing. Material usage will be at a minimum. We will focus on plowing. Once we get the main roads passable, we will concentrate on the secondary roads. As always, we advise people to slow down. If we do end up getting this much snow, and it comes down fast and quickly, there is only so much we can do to keep up with it. It obviously makes it a lot harder to plow because of the weight. It’s just a matter of physics.”

Because the storm has taken a more Virginia track — prompting Gov. Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency in the Commonwealth — Sleighter said counties such as Giles, Bland and Tazewell could see the snow first and higher accumulation totals.

“It will be moving in from south to north,” Sleighter said of the storm. “Tazewell and Bland and that area will get it sooner than say Bluefield, W.Va., or say north of Hinton. But I think you will see snow flakes as early as 8 a.m., 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. It will probably take two to three hours after the onset for the accumulations to start.”

Another clipper system could bring additional snowfall to the region this weekend.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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