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CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With cold, winter weather coming toward us from the West and warm, summer weather moving up from the South, West Virginia residents will, at the very least, get rain -- and some residents in higher elevations could be in for snow as Hurricane Sandy moves its way up the East Coast, a state meteorologist said Saturday.
The main effects of the storm convergence will be felt in the higher elevations, where snow anywhere from 1 inch in the valleys to 2 feet in the mountains has been predicated by the National Weather Service, according to Charleston meteorologist Kevin McGrath.
A winter storm watch is in effect for Webster, Pocahontas and Randolph counties from late today through Tuesday evening, with "heavy snow and strong gusty winds" up to 60 mph predicted, according to the NWS.
Rain will change to wet, heavy snow late today in the highest elevations and could bring down tree limbs, causing widespread power outages in those areas.
Additionally, a winter storm warning has been issued for Raleigh, Fayette and Nicholas counties starting Tuesday and moving into Wednesday, with heavy snow of 6 to 7 inches possible, according to the Kanawha County Office of Emergency Management.
Additionally, a flood watch has been issued for 3 to 4 inches of rain possible in Kanawha County through Thursday, according to the agency.
Amy Shuler Goodwin, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's communications director, said a state of emergency has not been issued, but the governor is prepared to issue one any time it is needed.
"The governor will be on calls twice a day with the National Weather Service, being updated on the storm," Shuler said.
As of Saturday, meteorologists expect Hurricane Sandy to hit in Southern New Jersey Tuesday evening.
"But here in West Virginia," McGrath said, "we could see some of the outer bands of the storm hit Monday night."
Having two distinct storm systems coming from different directions is "rare," he said, "and it's historic. Just like the 'Perfect Storm' of 1991, we could be studying this one for some time to come."
The Perfect Storm -- a nor'easter that absorbed Hurricane Grace and ultimately evolved into a small hurricane late in its own life cycle -- caused more than $200 million in damages and left 13 people dead as it moved up the Northeast Coast of the United States.
As of Saturday night, Hurricane Sandy had claimed the lives of 58 people, from Jamaica, Cuba, the Bahamas and Haiti, along with destroying or damaging thousands of homes in its wake.