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National Weather Service puts WV under Wind Chill Watch as frigid system approaches

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The National Weather Service has placed all of West Virginia under a Wind Chill Watch as a winter storm system approaches that could make it feel like -25 or colder from early Friday morning through Christmas Eve afternoon.

The Wind Chill Watch goes from 3 a.m. Friday to 1 p.m. Saturday.

“Dangerously cold wind chills with wind gusts up to 40 mph possible. Wind chills as low as 25 below zero,” a Wednesday evening advisory from the weather service said. “The cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 20 minutes. Gusty winds could bring down tree branches.”

Most of the state will see rain Thursday but the Greenbrier Valley, Potomac Highlands and Eastern Panhandle have been placed under advisories and warnings for possible freezing precipitation.

Gov. Jim Justice has placed all 55 counties under a State of Preparedness that allows resources to be put in place for a quick response to the storm.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Francis Kredensor said arctic winds will move into the state early Friday morning bringing with them snow but it will be quick-moving.

“We’ll have a very sharp temperature drop that’s going to be a very quick change to a quick-hitting heavy burst of snow and it will only be like a three-to-four hour window of snowfall before it begins to clear out on the backside,” Kredensor said.

There could be 1 to 3 inches of snow but it’s the dropping temperatures that Kredensor and others are concerned about.

“Places could drop 20 degrees in just a couple of hours. We’re definitely concerned that whatever water is on the roads quick freeze very quickly,” Kredensor said.

It will be in the teens for most of the day Friday across West Virginia with temperatures dropping to near zero Friday night. The high on Christmas Eve won’t get out of the mid-teens with wind chill making it feel way below zero. The temperatures moderate to the low-20s on Christmas Day.

Kredensor said the wind and frigid temperatures are the headlines of this storm.

“The snowfall amounts are not the big story here–it could be a really heavy burst of snow and the crashing temperatures that could cause a flash freeze on the roads. Kredensor said.

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