SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. — Predictions of a mammoth snow storm loom over the entire state, but some models are calling for the storm to come full force into the central and southern part of the Mountain State–leading to the “better safe than sorry” preparations that result in cleaned out grocery stores.
“Got everything ready for the winter and stuff like that,” Eli Johnson, out shopping with his family at WalMart, said Wednesday. “You never know when the power might go out. They might close down stuff cause of the snow.”
“You got to be this time of the year,” he added.
Eggs, milk, bread–you’ll likely see some of those shelves empty at your local grocery store.
But generators to keep the power and heat running are another story for many families. The Johnson family said they have one, but American Red Cross are preparing to deploy volunteers to open shelters in case of power failure.
“If there’s a power outage, we could see several shelters if it’s crossed a widespread area,” Alan Coberly, an American Red Cross Public Affairs rep, told MetroNews. “If it’s just a local area it could be one, maybe two.”
Coberly said the American Red Cross is prepping to help the entire state in case of massive snow fall, but they believe their efforts will wind up focusing on Central West Virginia and the Eastern Panhandle.
“We’re kind of monitoring the entire state,” he said. “But it looks like potentially the North Central and Eastern Panhandle part of the state may receive the largest amount of snow.”
“Because of the widespread nature and the fact that it’s going to be cold and people are going to have a hard time out on the road to provide things for themselves should the power go out,” Coberly added.
While the Red Cross monitors the weather situation, Coberly said that nobody has been deployed yet due to the ever-changing nature of the forecast.
“We haven’t pre-deployed anybody,” he said. “We have people on standby. Of course, in the next 24 hours we may have a bigger handle on it, but we don’t want to over deploy people to one area and should the weather shift be lacking in another area.”
Some areas are already preparing for the possibility of a wet, heavier snow. In that case, the American Red Cross would likely set up multiple shelters in affected areas.
“Be available to provide sheltering or any other support they might need should a power outage occur,” Coberly said.
Shelters can be set up in schools, armories, and other traditional public spaces. Most can hold 25-50 people at a time.
The Red Cross has a map on their website you can search to find available shelters here.