By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Area residents visited grocery stores early Sunday morning in advance of the latest round of winter weather — a sleet and snow storm that has most of the Mountain State in its crosshairs.
“Appalachian Power brought 500 crews and 100 assessment personnel to Charleston to prepare for this storm,” Jimmy Gianato, director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said Sunday afternoon. “It’s an unusual storm pattern that’s going to wrap around and could hit us pretty hard.”
By mid-afternoon on Sunday, the National Weather Service had increased its snowfall prediction to 2-4 inches of accumulation. “The whole state is practically under a winter storm warning,” Gianato said.
“It’s not a particularly unique storm system with the exception that there are several different pieces that are coming together,” Anita Silverman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Blacksburg, Va., said. “The cold air is coming from the Northwest, and the moisture is coming in from the southern plains.”
For the past several days, the National Weather Service has been predicting a sequence of weather with this system that starts with rain and changes to sleet before falling as snow. However, on Sunday evening, the timeline moved up a little.
“Now we’re looking at the sleet starting to fall in the Bluefield area at about 3 a.m., changing to a mix of sleet and snow before turning into snow,” Silverman said. Look for the snow to stick around through the night as temperatures drop to 10 degrees on Monday before rebounding to 39 degrees on Tuesday.
Trooper First Class J.A. Cook of the Princeton Detachment of the West Virginia State Police urged motorists to exercise extreme caution on highways covered with snow and ice.
“After a couple days of driving on dry roads, drivers can become complacent about driving in wintry conditions,” Cook said. “The smart thing is to only travel when its absolutely necessary during storms like this one, and to be very cautious when operating a motor vehicle.”
After today, the Weather Service doesn’t have any more snow in the forecast until Thursday night.
— Contact Bill Archer at firstname.lastname@example.org