CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Starting Sunday night, the remnants of Hurricane Sandy are expected to storm into West Virginia and interact with a stalling cold front, bringing rain and gusty winds to the state's lowlands and eight to 10 inches of snow to portions of the Northeastern mountains.
The National Weather Service's Charleston Forecast Office issued a winter storm watch for Webster, Pocahontas and Randolph counties for Sunday night through Tuesday night, calling for steady accumulations of wet, heavy snow accompanied by strong, gusty winds. The snowfall is expected to start late Sunday, with the heaviest accumulations taking place Monday through Tuesday.
The mountain snowfall is expected to be accompanied by "some pretty brisk northwest winds -- 20- to 30-miles-an-hour, with 40- to 45-mile-an-hour gusts across the higher ridges," said NWS forecaster Dave Marsalek. "In the lowlands, it will be a rain and snow mix."
Marsalek said little, if any snow accumulation is expected in the Charleston area and other locations in Southwestern West Virginia. "There will be a few flakes coming down, but the ground temperature is still over 60 degrees, although that will come down a little in the next couple of days."
Daytime temperatures should drop into the low 40s and high 30s in the Kanawha Valley when Hurricane Sandy's remnants blow into the area, but nighttime temperatures are expected to stay just above the freezing point.
Rain is expected to fall across much of the state Saturday and Sunday, and continue in the lowlands at least through Tuesday.
"In the low areas, it will be wet and raw, with 20- to 30-mile-per-hour wind gusts," Marsalek said. "It's been pretty dry since the end of July, so there's still a lot of room in our creeks and streams" to handle runoff, he said.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Friday urged state residents to prepare for the possibility of severe weather by making sure they have supplies of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, nonperishable foods, medications and battery-operated radios.