CHARLESTON, W.Va. — National Weather Service meteorologists are waving the danger flag over a storm system due to hit the state Sunday night and into Monday morning.
“We’re confident somewhere in the area is going to have a wintry mess,” said meteorologist Ray Young. “But exactly where is the big question.”
The precipitation fueling the system is coming from the same storm that is dropping heavy rainfall in southern California. As the storm moves inland from the West Coast and across the country, it will meet with another polar front pushing down from Canada.
“The energy from the California storm is riding along that polar front and that’s what’s going to cause the issues over West Virginia.” Young said.
The NWS issued a winter storm watch Friday for 32 counties: Wayne, Cabell, Mason, Jackson, Wood, Pleasants, Tyler, Lincoln, Putnam, Kanawha, Roane, Wirt, Calhoun, Ritchie, Doddridge, Clay, Braxton, Gilmer, Lewis, Harrison, Upshur, Barbour, Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, Monongalia, Marion, Preston, Taylor, Tucker and Wetzel.
The issues could range from heavy snow to a mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and ice. Exactly where the dividing line will be remained up in the air as of Friday afternoon. Young said Beckley and southern West Virginia would likely see rain, while the Parkersburg area and points north will be hit with the mix.
“If we got into the colder air in Charleston, we could be looking at some catastrophic freezing rain that downs trees and power lines,” said Young. “Somewhere north of Charleston and west of Charleston, you’re probably in a really bad spot and should be prepared to lose power and be without power for several days.”