Crews prepare for expected holiday weekend winter storm

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 11:22 PM EST
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - All week, crews in Charleston have been prepping the roads for the upcoming winter weather expected to hit Sunday -- nearly two weeks after the region was covered with a blanket of snow and ice.

“We’ve been watching this storm all week, watching it unfold,” Charleston Public Works Director Brent Webster told WSAZ. “We’ve done a lot of pre-treatment this week because of all the cold mornings. So, if it presents itself, we’ll try to do more.”

Charleston crews are fully staffed, and mechanics have had all equipment on trucks inspected, according to Webster.

“Now it’s just kind of a waiting game,” he said.

Just last week, a winter mix brought roughly 8 inches of snow with it to the region. Now, crews find themselves gearing up for round two.

“The difference would be, this time, it might be more ice or more ice potential,” Webster said. “Dealing with more snow accumulation is less of a challenge, you have to plow that. But ice makes the road slicker, it’s harder for traction, it’s more dangerous for our drivers, more dangerous for the public to be out in it.”

Kanawha County Emergency Management Director CW Sigman agreed that ice would be the most difficult challenge this storm could bring, as it could be a domino effect into other issues.

“If we get some icing, we could have some power outages, plus the roads will be treacherous,” he said. “If we have icing and we lose power, there will be neighborhoods without electrical power, then people will be running generators and we’ll have a higher risk of fires.”

If power does get interrupted, Sigman urges everyone to remember to keep generators away from their homes, not under roofs and not on wooden patios.

“Like everything else, we need to be prepared,” he said. “We don’t want the carbon monoxide (to) go inside or the generator (to) catch on fire.”

Sigman is hoping with a three-day holiday weekend, and the storm not projected to hit until Sunday, less people will need to be out and about on the roads.

“The advantage we’re going to have with this storm is the travel might not be as bad. It’s the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. I hate for it to ruin the holiday, but there’s no school on Monday (and) government offices will be closed for the most part. So the amount of people wanting to travel will be a lot less.”

Webster urges people to not drive unless they absolutely must. He also asked that people park their vehicles in their driveways or off the road so salt and plow trucks can easily drive through neighborhoods.

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