CHARLESTON, W.Va. --A winter storm that caused several accidents across Kanawha County gave many West Virginia schoolchildren an early start to the weekend, and more snow accumulation is expected Saturday and into Sunday morning.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for almost every county in West Virginia, and a river flood warning along the Ohio River in Mason County.
The winter weather advisory, which goes into effect at 10 a.m. today and remains until 10 a.m. Sunday, warns of an additional snow accumulation of 3 to 6 inches. Temperatures are expected in the 20s, and the NWS says that drivers should expect slick roads.
Early Friday, the fast and slow lane of Interstate 77 southbound at the Westmoreland Road exit was shut down due to a single vehicle accident. The interstate was "a solid sheet of ice" from the I-77 and Interstate 79 split southbound to the Interstate 64 and I-77 split, according to Kanawha County Metro 911 dispatchers.
Winter storm warnings were posted in 17 counties Friday. School was canceled in at least 40 counties.
Kanawha County Metro 911 started to receive calls about hazardous driving conditions because of ice- and snow-covered roads just after 1 a.m. Friday.
The northbound split at Interstate 77 and 79 around the 106 mile marker was shut down for about an hour early Friday after "tractors and trailers [were] at a standstill due to hazardous roads," according to an alert from Metro 911. The road was reopened at 3:17 a.m.
Numerous accidents were reported in Kanawha County Friday morning, mostly on untreated secondary streets. In Putnam County, dispatchers said there were only a handful of accidents on secondary roads, with no injuries.
Snow continued to fall until about 7 a.m. Friday, hampering efforts to clear the interstates and secondary roads. Salt trucks and snow plows made better progress once the snow stopped, but patches of interstate and many streets and secondary roads remained slushy Friday afternoon.
The Kanawha River was at 25 feet in Charleston and expected to crest at about 26 feet by Friday afternoon before receding over the weekend, according to a Metro 911 alert.
That measurement was still "well below" the 30-foot flood stage, according to the alert.
More than 1,200 Appalachian Power customers were without power just before 10 a.m., including more than 600 in Wayne County and nearly 300 in Kanawha County, according to the company's website. However, only about 485 customers were without power by 7 p.m., mostly in Cabell and Lincoln counties.
But forecasters warned state residents that they weren't yet through with snowfall. Liz Sommerville, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, said forecasters predicted snow to start falling again in the Kanawha Valley at about 6 a.m. Saturday.
"We're expecting, by 7 p.m. or so, approximately 2 inches," she said.
"It will continue pretty much through the entire weekend," she said. "We can expect to see another 4 to 5 inches within the Kanawha Valley."