CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State and local emergency officials spent much of the day Tuesday getting ready for a storm system expected to pummel the state just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Heavy rain during the day was expected to change to wet, clinging snow overnight, creating the possibility of downed power lines, slick roads and West Virginians left stranded with no electricity.
"We are preparing for the worst but hoping for the best," said Kanawha County Manager Jennifer Sayre.
Sayre said Kanawha County emergency officials were monitoring weather reports, contacting mayors and police chiefs to make sure they are ready for bad weather and checking with nursing homes to make sure they have plans in place if electricity is lost or water rises. The county's water rescue teams were put on standby, and local officials were talking with officials for the Red Cross to plan for potential emergency shelters.
By late Tuesday night, the National Weather Service had issued a winter weather advisory for the majority of the counties in the state, with much of the eastern panhandle under a winter storm warning.
The Weather Service predicted a 90 percent chance of snow and a high of 32 degrees for Wednesday.
Sayre said county officials told the Red Cross to be ready to set up a shelter at the Pratt Volunteer Fire Department to serve potential storm victims in the southeastern part of the county and to help motorists who may become stranded on the West Virginia Turnpike. The Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority was also put on standby to supply KRT buses for emergency transportation.
Charleston City Manager David Molgaard said the city is getting its snow plows and salt trucks ready. He said Public Works Director Gary Taylor has ordered Wednesday's day shift to come in early, and crews can be brought in even earlier if necessary.