Update for 7 a.m. Tuesday: All schools in West Virginia are closed this morning except Hancock and Brooke, which are operating on a normal schedule, and Gilmer, Marshall, Mineral, Monroe and Ohio, which are operating on a delayed schedule.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Forty-three West Virginia county school systems had decided by 11 p.m. Monday not to have school again Tuesday because of the most recent winter storm to hit the Mountain State.
The ice and snow from Sunday and Monday’s weather action was still around Monday night with temperatures headed toward the single digits. There was still much work to do on secondary roads.
Department of Transportation workers spent most of Sunday night into Monday morning trying to keep up with the storm, but spokesperson Carrie Bly said the persistent snowfall made it futile.
“By the time we get through and can plow off one layer, it’s coming right back down!” Bly said.
At times, the snow was falling at a rate of up to two inches per hour. Even the interstates and main byways were covered in white.
“There aren’t many people out on the roads, which is great for us,” said Bly. “It gives us an opportunity to treat the roadways without any obstructions.”
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s initial told state workers they could delay reporting until 10:30 a.m.—and then he pushed it back to noon, and finally opted to close all state agencies for the day.
“I think that notion from the governor for state employees set a precedent for other employers and kept a lot of people off the roadways and we’re not seeing a lot of accidents,” Bly said.
The DOT’s West Virginia 511 website showed only a handful of accidents throughout the morning. However, there was looming concern for Monday night and Tuesday morning, when temperatures were expected to plummet below zero in some areas.
“When those temperatures drop back down under 20, or especially when we go below 15 degrees, salt is not very effective. That’s where we are going to start putting more abrasives on the road, things to get people traction,” said Bly. “We’ll put down salt or limestone.”
Bly warned drivers to think about their plans for Tuesday’s morning commute: “That’s when you have to ask yourself, ‘Do I really need to travel?’”