CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Fifty-three of West Virginia’s 55 counties are under Winter Storm Warnings from the National Weather Service as a storm system packing freezing rain, ice and snow moves through the Mountain State.
NWS Meteorologist Tom Mazza told MetroNews the storm could be the worst in a winter that has already brought multiple snowstorms to the state. “It does have a combination of hazards and, if it’s not the worst, it may be close to it,” Mazza said on Sunday.
Ice may be the difference in this storm. Freezing rain had already started in northern West Virginia by Sunday morning, the beginning of precipitation that was expected to continue through the day Monday.
Mazza said the entire storm system is now farther south than predicted several days ago. “The winter weather effects have gone from being across the northern part of the state to, pretty much, throughout the state in one fashion or another,” he said.
According to forecasts on Sunday, central West Virginia — an area between Parkersburg, Huntington, Charleston, Elkins and Clarksburg — was in for at least a quarter inch of ice followed by six to eight inches of snow before Monday morning.
At the same time, ice accumulations of half an inch or more were possible in areas from Huntington to Charleston and south to Beckley.
“The freezing rain is further south. The sleet and the snow, that entire transition zone, is further south,” said Mazza.
The snow was expected to continue through the day Monday in areas east of Charleston. In those mountain counties, snow totals could climb to between eight and 12 inches, including in some Eastern Panhandle counties.
The only counties not under the Winter Storm Warning from the National Weather Service, as of Sunday, were Hancock County and Mercer County. Winter Weather Advisories were in effect for those areas.
The storm caused West Virginia University to shut down. The University announced that operations would be suspended from 4 p.m. Sunday through 6 a.m. Tuesday.
All classes during that period are canceled and the main campus will be closed. However, the University said some functions, including dining services, residence halls, and roads and grounds would continue.
Classes are expected to resume Tuesday.