CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginians stayed home from school, shoveled walks and stayed off the roads as much as possible on Tuesday, as snow and plunging temperatures led to treacherous conditions throughout the state.
On Tuesday night, the focus shifted from the several inches of snow on the ground to the near-zero temperatures that made travel extremely dangerous.
Kanawha County emergency officials told drivers not to travel if at all possible early Tuesday afternoon. Roads, which were covered with snow and slush in the morning, began to freeze as the temperature fell toward the single digits.
Between 4 and 5 inches of snow had fallen in much of Kanawha County as of late Tuesday afternoon, said Julia Ruthfort, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston. Snow continued to fall in the area.
Interstate 77 between Ripley and Ravenswood was closed for about half an hour because of multiple accidents. The northbound lanes of Interstate 79 were partly blocked shortly before 10 a.m. just north of Bridgeport, in Harrison County, to allow DOH crews remove snow and disabled vehicles from the freeway.
On Interstate 68 near Morgantown, the westbound entrance ramp to the freeway was closed at the Sabraton interchange because of a snowbound tractor-trailer.
Division of Highways spokeswoman Carrie Bly said road crews were doing their best to keep ahead of a snowstorm expected to dump up to 8 inches of snow on parts of the state.
"It's a tough one today," Bly said. "It's going to be falling all morning."
She urged drivers to slow down on bad roads.
Snowy conditions contributed to almost two dozen wrecks in Kanawha County during Tuesday's morning commute. A Kanawha Metro 911 dispatcher said calls about accidents began about 5:15 a.m. and continued through the morning.
Putnam County dispatchers responded to several wrecks, and the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department responded to one wreck involving two cars on W.Va. 34 near Hamlin that did not result in injury.