CHARLESTON, WV — Gov. Jim Justice has declared a State of Emergency for all 55 West Virginia counties due to the winter storm event forecast to hit the state in the coming days.
The National Weather Service predicts heavy snow, dangerous wind chills, and strong winds beginning today, Thursday, January 18, 2024, and continuing throughout the week and into the coming weekend.
“All West Virginians need to absolutely be ready for the potential impact this winter storm may bring to our state,” Gov. Justice said. “West Virginians should pay extra close attention to emergency officials and media outlets, and be prepared if there are power outages. West Virginians take care of one another, so make sure you check on your neighbors and loved ones, too.”
Click here to view State of Emergency proclamation
The State of Emergency allows state agencies to coordinate ahead of a possible weather event, including by pre-positioning personnel, vehicles, equipment, and other assets.
Gov. Justice issued a State of Preparedness for all 55 counties earlier this month, which is still in effect.
The following is a summary of current preparations by various State agencies:
West Virginia Emergency Management Division:
“This storm will cause difficult travel, extreme cold, and other hazardous conditions,” said EMD Director GE McCabe. “EMD is in close contact with local offices of emergency management, state and federal partners, and utility company representatives to assist and respond when help is needed.”
Coordinating agencies are being placed on standby to support the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) should the need arise.
Emergency Management staff will operate the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) with the EMD Watch Center monitoring 24/7 for changes to weather or other developments that may impact safety and relay critical information immediately to agency leaders for action.
EMD remains in contact with all county emergency management agencies.
EMD has posted non-emergency numbers for each county 911 center so our citizens may find help within their local area should they need to locate a warming station or request other assistance.
West Virginia Division of Highways:
West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) crews continue their snow removal and ice control (SRIC) operations this week.
For the latest updates and information on local travel conditions throughout West Virginia, visit wv511.org. To report a snow-covered road in your area, call 833-WV-ROADS.
“We are prepared for any snowfall event, whether it’s an inch of snow or a foot of snow,” said Joe Pack, P.E., WVDOH Chief Engineer of District Operations. “We attack each storm with the same level of importance of having every available truck on the road, with a driver in it, plow mounted on it, and salt in the back.”
Statewide, WVDOH has a stockpile of more than 231,000 tons of salt. A typical snowplow holds 12 tons of salt, enough to treat about 100 lane miles of road. That equates to a 50-mile stretch of two-lane road, or about 25 miles of four-lane.
WVDOH has over 1,000 trucks mounted with plows with salt spreading capabilities through its 10 districts. Each truck is assigned a driver for a 12-hour day shift and a 12-hour night shift so that a driver is on the roadway 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
All roads maintained by WVDOH fit into one of four priorities. The Interstate, Expressway, National Highway System, and all other US, WV, and high-trafficked county routes are Priority 1 routes. Priority 2 routes are all other school bus routes not included in Priority 1. Priority 3 routes are the remaining routes, not including park and forest routes. Priority 4 routes are park and forest routes.
Once Priority 1 routes are deemed in accessible condition, WVDOH operators move to those secondary routes in Priority 2 and 3. However, as snow returns, WVDOH operators return to the Priority 1 routes.
WVDOH reminds motorists to slow down in the winter weather and give snowplow drivers space to work.
Weather forecast from the National Weather Service:
A low-pressure system brings accumulating snow across the region tonight into Saturday morning, with light ice possible as far north as the Tug Fork overnight tonight. Highest amounts of 8 to 12 inches will be observed across the northeastern mountains of WV. Lesser amounts of 2 to 4 inches across the Middle Ohio River Valley and southwest Virginia will be observed.
Elsewhere, 4 to 8 inches are expected. Light ice accumulations less than a tenth of an inch will be likely across the southwest Virginia and parts of southern West Virginia. Winter Storm Warnings and Advisories have been issued across all of the area starting this evening at 7 PM.
Yet another arctic air blast coming in right on the heels of this system brings frigid weather Friday night through the weekend, while upslope snow showers continue across portions of the lowlands and in the mountains. Dangerous wind chills are likely again over the weekend.
A thaw is expected during the next work week, with waves of low pressure bringing rain at times beginning by mid week.
WV 511 - Road Conditions and Cameras
Non-Emergency Assistance Phone Numbers
National Weather Service Charleston
National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington (Eastern Panhandle)
National Weather Service Blacksburg (Southeast WV)
National Weather Service Pittsburgh (Northern Panhandle)