Temps to top 50 by weekend

ELKINS – The most significant winter storm so far this season is winding down and many people in the area are happy to see it go.

After residents experienced temperatures drop to subzero levels and wind chills dip to minus 30 degrees in the Elkins area, the forecast for the rest of the week seems much more agreeable. A high of 26 degrees is expected today, while temperatures should climb to the lower 40s Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

By the weekend temperatures are expected to rise to nearly 50 degrees, although the relative warmth will be coupled with a high chance of rain, the NWS predicts.

Warmer temperatures will be welcomed by those who experienced power outages this week. First Energy reported that as of Tuesday afternoon 3,600 customers in Pocahontas County were without power, as well as approximately 145 customers in Tucker County and 60 customers in Randolph County.

At one point overnight Monday, more than 1,400 customers were without power in the Elkins area.

“We currently have several crews on the ground investigating the cause of the outages,” Greg Hefner, manager of external affairs for First Energy, said Tuesday.

“In most cases, we have seen many different isolated incidents due to the extremely cold temperatures. We expect the vast majority of the outages to be repaired by Wednesday.”

In preparation for the frigid weather, the Randolph County Office of Emergency Management set up warming shelters throughout the county Monday, at local fire departments and at Camp Pioneer and Tyrand Cooperative Ministries, to give people a safe haven from the cold.

Donnie Pritt of Camp Pioneer said the camp was ready and on standby Monday and Tuesday. Pritt said no one requested shelter, but the camp had the capability to shelter up to 300 and to sleep up to 200.

The Elkins Fire Department saw few patrons at their shelter on Tuesday, officials said.

Residents are warned to dress appropriately for the weather, including wearing loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers to help create insulation. Officials also recommend wearing a hat to prevent body heat loss from the top of the head and wearing gloves or mittens to protect hands from the extreme temperatures.

Contact Chad Clem by email at cclem@theintermountain.com.