The heaviest snow of the latest winter storm - named Saturn - will hit central West Virginia early this morning, according to reports from the National Weather Service in Charleston.
The NWS issued a winter storm warning Tuesday morning predicting 6 to 10 inches of heavy, wet snow that was expected to begin falling Tuesday night. Depending on elevation and temperature, local residents could see "as little as a dusting all the way up to 12 inches," NWS meteorologist Andrew Beavers said Tuesday morning.
"It's going to be the same amount of precipitation - it will just be rain if the temperature's not below freezing," Beavers told The Inter-Mountain.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
West Virginia Division of Highways employees work to fill salt trucks Tuesday morning in anticipation of heavy snow. Trucks haul the salt from the end of U.S. 33 at Kerens to Gilman and other parts of Randolph County.
Today's high will reach freezing - 32 degrees Fahrenheit - while the air is expected to warm as the week progresses. Beavers said temperatures will reach the upper 30s to low 40s on Thursday and plateau in the low 40s on Friday.
"Saturday is when it's really going to start warming up," Beavers said, noting temperatures may climb into the low 50s.
Jim Wise, director of the Randolph County Office of Emergency Management, said the county is ready for potential intermittent power outages.
"We've been in contact with FirstEnergy, the parent company of Mon Power, and they're making preparations and have been making preparations to be ready to roll their trucks out early on if there are any kind of sporadic, isolated power outages," Wise said Tuesday. "They will have their crews prepared to go take care of any potential power outages due to trees down or lines down."
Wise said he expects road conditions will improve as today wears on.
"I don't think traveling is going to be much of an issue as the day progresses Wednesday," he said. "Most of the snow is coming overnight Tuesday."
Mike Moran, West Virginia Division of Highways district engineer, said road crews were gearing up Tuesday morning in anticipation of the snow.
"We have crews scheduled around the clock, and everyone is working to get the equipment ready to go," Moran said. "We are hauling salt from the end of the Corridor at Kerens to Gilmer and all across Randolph County for use."
Moran said pretreatment on U.S. 33 from the Barbour County line through Kerens would begin Tuesday afternoon.
"We will be using a liquid salt brine to pretreat the road," Moran said Tuesday. "Because we don't know the magnitude of this storm, we have made sure the snow blowers are all working as well as making sure the graders are available for use in case of heavy snow."
Also on Tuesday, Bob Pingley, Elkins city operations manager, said city workers were gearing up for the storm.
"We are just making sure our equipment is in good shape," Pingley said. "We have plenty of salt, and we will deal with anything that comes along."
He gave no specific timetable of when Elkins crews would start preparing roads with salt or when plows would be out to shovel snow, saying everything depends on the weather.
Staff writers Beth Christian Broschart and Casey Houser contributed to this report.