MARLINTON, W.Va. — Officials from two of the Eastern Mountain counties directly in the path of an impending winter weather event both touted the preparedness levels of citizens and officials in Pocahontas and Tucker counties.
“We’re always prepared,” Pocahontas County Office of Emergency Management and 911 Director Mike O’Brien said. “We are Pocahontas County. We receive a lot of snow. It’s a typical snow storm for us from the reports that I’ve been seeing–provided that the wind doesn’t get up and the snow’s not real heavy.”
O’Brien said those concerns could lead to power outages, which is the primary concern moving forward if the snow is of a heavier variety.
“Opening up a shelter is probably not likely for long-term stay, but we may have to open up some warming shelters and some places for people with medical conditions and oxygen concentrators and things like that to plug into,” he said.
Wind gusts in some areas could be up to 35 miles per hour. Shelters–if they require activation in Pocahontas County–will be at Marlinton Middle School, the Observatory in Green Bank, and possibly Snow Shoe Mountain Resort.
“We’re so diverse here,” O’Brien said. “We’ve got a lot of mountainous terrain and low terrain. Looks like it’s going to be a widespread snow accumulation depending on where you live in the county.”
Pat Gray, Deputy Director of the Tucker County Office of Emergency Management cited similar concerns, but also said that Tucker County’s diverse geography and overall size meant very different forecasts for it’s eastern and western halves.
“The eastern side is probably going to get the majority of the snow, and then the lower lying area on the western side is probably not going to get the significant snow,” he said.
Tucker County’s primary shelter is the Thomas Community Center, but a secondary shelter could be activated at Canaan Valley Baptist Church.
Both O’Brien and Gray cautioned travelers headed for Snowshoe Mountain or Canaan Valley arrive well in advance of the pending event.
“Normally our biggest problem is travelers coming into Snowshoe on Rt. 219, now known as Seneca Trail,” O’Brien said. “It’s just a little bit north of Marlinton here–a mountain called Elk Mountain. We seem to have a lot of problems with cars getting stuck going up and down Elk Mountain, which is our main artery from the south end of Snowshoe Ski Resort.”
The winter storm warning’s begin early Monday and run through the early overnight hours of Wednesday morning.
Additionally, watches and warnings have been issued for parts of Taylor, Upshur, Barbour, Nicholas, Webster, Randolph, and Greenbrier counties.