Emily Rice Published

Winter Weather Covers West Virginia

Trees atop a mountain are covered in ice and snow.
West Virginia is under a Winter Storm Warning from the National Weather Service and a State of Emergency from Gov. Jim Justice.
Eric Douglas/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The entire state of West Virginia is under either a winter weather advisory or a winter storm warning.

“We have got a winter storm warning for much of our forecast area,” Simone Lewis, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Charleston, said. “So pretty much the whole state of West Virginia has either got a winter storm warning or a winter weather advisory and that’s for late this evening, lasting through Saturday morning.”

Starting at 7 p.m. on Jan. 18 and lasting through 10 a.m. Saturday morning, Jan. 20 heavy snow is expected with a possible accumulation of four to 12 inches, depending on the region.

“We are expecting a general four to six inches, and that includes down in the southern coalfields also. And then once you get into the mountainous counties, we’re expecting eight to 12 inches,” Lewis said.

Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency for all 55 West Virginia counties ahead of the storm on Thursday afternoon. The State of Emergency allows state agencies to coordinate ahead of a possible weather event, including by pre-positioning personnel, vehicles, equipment and other assets.

“All West Virginians need to absolutely be ready for the potential impact this winter storm may bring to our state,” Justice said. “West Virginians should pay extra close attention to emergency officials and media outlets, and be prepared if there are power outages. West Virginians take care of one another, so make sure you check on your neighbors and loved ones, too.”

The wind chill is expected to be 16 degrees on Friday before it drops to -2 degrees on Saturday morning. Lewis said by Saturday, the heaviest accumulations will generally be over with.

“It’d be probably about mid to late evening and lasting through much of the day Friday,” Lewis said. “Saturday, the system will start to pull off to the east, but we will continue to see some lingering light snow shower activity across the state.”

The West Virginia Emergency Management Division (WV EMD) has been placed on standby to support the State Emergency Operations Center should the need arise.

EMD has posted non-emergency numbers for each county 911 center.

The West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) crew continues their snow removal and ice control operations. 

“We are prepared for any snowfall event, whether it’s an inch of snow or a foot of snow,” said Joe Pack, P.E., WVDOH chief engineer of District Operations. “We attack each storm with the same level of importance of having every available truck on the road, with a driver in it, plow mounted on it, and salt in the back.”

Statewide, WVDOH has a stockpile of more than 231,000 tons of salt. A typical snowplow holds 12 tons of salt, enough to treat about 100 lane miles of road.