Area covered in blanket of snow

Several inches of snow blanketed the area Monday morning, causing a series of minor auto accidents in surrounding counties.

Motorists need to remain cautious, however, as more snow is predicted for today as part of Winter Storm Virgil.

“We’re looking at a lot of snow,” said Liz Sommerville, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Charleston.

Sommerville said residents of Elkins could expect 1 to 2 inches of snow Monday evening into this morning and an additional 1 to 2 inches through the day today.

On top of that, she said, meteorologists are predicting an inch of snow tonight. But total accumulation may be partially alleviated by rising temperatures.

“Tuesday and Wednesday temperatures should warm up above freezing,” Sommerville said, “so there is a chance of snow melting.”

Precipitation should continue through Thursday, Sommerville said, and snowfall should cease by Thursday evening.

Daytime highs listed on the NWS website are 36 degrees today, 37 Wednesday, 38 Thursday and 43 Friday. The low tonight is expected to drop to 26 degrees and to 24 degrees Wednesday and Thursday night.

A winter storm warning issued by the NWS Monday afternoon – which will be in effect until 2 p.m today – says the storm system will most heavily affect higher elevations in Randolph, Pocahontas and Webster counties.

Snow accumulations are expected to reach 8 to 16 inches and should make for hazardous road conditions.

Jim Wise, the Randolph County Office of Emergency Management director, said officials in his office are monitoring weather conditions and keeping in contact with the West Virginia Department of Transportation.

“We anticipated this (storm) and knew it was coming,” he said.

Randolph County E-911 officials reported county law enforcement responded to a number of calls from drivers on Monday, but most accidents involved cars sliding into ditches or other minor mishaps. As of Monday morning, E-911 said there was one such event on Route 219 and a separate incident in Coalton.

West Virginia State Police in Parsons echoed Randolph County officials by saying that they responded to two similar emergency calls Monday morning in Tucker County. But police arrived only to see that drivers had freed their own vehicles.

State Police officials in Moorefield said there was one minor incident involving a single motor vehicle so far Monday, and Hardy County E-911 officials said there was an accident on Route 259 involving two vehicles and resulting in no injuries to either driver.

The most serious accident of the morning was reported by Senior Deputy Steve Wratchford, an officer with the Grant County Sheriff’s Department.

He said James Edward McKenzie was driving a Ford F250 on Route 28 Monday morning at approximately 8:45 a.m. when he slid into a tree near Smoke Hole Caverns. Wratchford said the driver was uninjured.

In addition to McKenzie’s accident, Wratchford said there were four other reports Monday morning of drivers who had slid into ditches. He said the other wrecks weren’t serious and there were no reported injuries.

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