CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Meteorologists issued a winter weather advisory for much of West Virginia on Thursday as they monitored a storm bringing heavy snow and strong winds.
Approximately 2 to 4 inches of snow was expected to fall periodically across the state beginning Thursday night into early Friday.
The snowstorm was predicted to hit with strong winds and freezing temperatures, making untreated roads icy and dangerous, according to an advisory issued by the National Weather Service.
Wind chills could hit sub-zero temperatures early Friday and would rise just above single digits late this afternoon. Drivers were urged to stay off the roadways. If people must travel, meteorologists warned that visibility would be limited and they would need to plan extra time to drive slower.
Counties included in the advisory are: Tyler, Lincoln, Putnam, Kanawha, Roane, Wirt, Calhoun, Ritchie, Doddridge, Mingo, Logan, Boone, Clay, Braxton, Gilmer, Lewis, Harrison, Taylor, McDowell, Wyoming, Upshur and Barbour.
Meteorologists warned that the snowstorm would hit harder in counties with higher elevations. A more-severe winter storm warning was issued for Mercer, Summers and Greenbrier counties. Those counties could expect to see up to 6 inches of snow with winds blowing at about 35 mph, according to the warning.
The snowstorm was expected to affect about 100 million people in the Midwest and Northeast, according to the National Weather Service. New York was expected to receive up to 6 inches of snow while Massachusetts was expected to get up to 14 inches of snow.
Line workers at Appalachian Power were placed on standby ahead of the storm on Thursday.
Workers from Ohio and Virginia were also on standby in case of mass power outages, according to a news release issued by the company.
Customers can report outages or check the status of an outage at appalachianpower.com. The company urged customers to keep an emergency kit with blankets and other warm clothing in case of outages. The kit should also include candles, matches, flashlights, water and canned goods.
An employee at Roark Sullivan Lifeway Center, a local emergency shelter offering help for the homeless, said he was aware of the call for freezing temperatures. His organization would open its doors to get as many homeless people out of the weather's way as possible, he said. His organization routinely monitors harsh weather to beef up accommodations, the employee said.
Meteorologists said West Virginia would be hit by a second wave of snowstorms late Sunday and early Monday. Freezing temperatures and wind chills could be a factor early Tuesday.
Rain and freezing temperatures led to icy conditions and several accidents across Southern West Virginia on Thursday. Schools in Boone, Logan, Lincoln and Mingo counties closed hours early.
Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.