Residents in West Virginia could see anywhere from about a half-foot to 2 feet of snow this weekend, depending on the location.
Locally, the Mingo County Commission declared a “”state of emergency preparedness,” for Mingo County in an emergency meeting held Thursday, Jan. 21. Commissioner Greg “Hootie” Smith stated, “The purpose of this emergency session is in regards to the winter storm warning that is in effect for our area so that we can make arrangements and be best prepared for the emergency.”
In preparation for the upcoming storm, nonjudicial offices of the Mingo County Courthouse will be closed Friday, Jan. 22. “I think that we should be proactive. We should take the necessary steps here today to go ahead and close down nonjudicial offices in the Courthouse. I would rather be safe than sorry. I make a motion to go ahead and close down the nonjudicial offices for tomorrow, ” Smith explained. County Commissioner Diann Hannah seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Commissioners worked with Doug Goolsby, the Mingo County Director of Homeland Security, to establish warming stations in the event of a power outage. Currently, warming stations will be in place at the Beech Creek, Williamson and Chattaroy Fire Departments.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has issued a state of preparedness for all 55 counties in West Virginia as a result of severe winter weather predicted Friday through Saturday night.
Some places could see sleet mixed with snow as winter storm Jonas begins early Friday. (See graph)
The National Weather Service says the heaviest amounts of snow, 18 to 24 inches, are expected to fall in some northern and eastern sections of the state and in higher elevations, including Buckhannon, Elkins, Marlington, Martinsburg, Summersville and Webster Springs. More information can be found by visiting http://www.erh.noaa.gov/rlx.
State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management director Jimmy Gianato says his biggest concern with the upcoming storm is power outages.
Parts of the southern coalfields and mid-Ohio Valley, including Williamson, Logan, Parkersburg and Welch, should receive 6 to 12 inches. Up to 18 inches are possible in Charleston, Clarksburg, Glenville, Huntington and Point Pleasant.
Fairmont and Morgantown are expected to get about a foot, and Beckley is expected to be in the 12-to-20-inch range.
Classes were called off again across West Virginia after a winter storm clogged roads while another system is about to hit the state with heavy snow. Locally schools were dismissed early on Wednesday and canceled on Thursday.
A storm Wednesday dropped a few inches of snow in a short amount of time, causing schools in two dozen counties to close early, and that carried over to Thursday.
Schools were closed in at least 25 of the state’s 55 counties Thursday and classes were delayed in 19 others.
Up to 2 feet of snow is forecast to fall in parts of the state starting early Friday. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning statewide through Sunday morning.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is reminding residents that the state’s price gouging laws are in effect as a winter storm bears down on the state.
The laws took effect Wednesday afternoon when Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued a state of preparedness for all West Virginia counties.
The state’s price gouging laws prohibit any person, business, or contractor from inflating the price of any consumer item by more than 10 percent of what it sold for 10 days prior to the declaration. The laws remain in effect until the declaration is lifted or 30 days, whichever is longer, subject to limited exceptions.
Items subject to the state’s price gouging laws are food items, essential consumer items, emergency supplies and home heating oil.
West Virginians needing assistance should contact their local emergency management office 304-235-8551. Contact information for each county office can be online. For updates on the state’s response efforts, including lists of warming stations and shelters, power outages, road closures and weather conditions, please visit the state’s official Facebook page for Winter Storm Jonas: www.facebook.com/WVJonas.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)