OHIO VALLEY— With the National Weather Service (NWS) out of Charleston, W.Va. issuing a “complicated” winter storm watch, crews are preparing for the potential heavy snow.
As of Friday afternoon, the Ohio Valley region had been issued a hazardous weather outlook and winter storm watch from the NWS from Jan. 16 at 7 a.m. until Jan. 17 at 10 a.m.
NWS said a winter storm watch is in place as a “low pressure system” will move “south and east of the area” on Sunday, moving into Monday with significant snow accumulation.
“Heavy snow possible. Snow may change over to freezing rain during the afternoon Sunday. Total snow accumulations of four to eight inches possible,” according to the NWS warning. “Moderate to heavy snow will likely reduce visibilities at times. Along higher elevations, winds could gust as high as 35 miles per hour.”
Along with the potential of heavy snowfall and freezing rain, the NWS has issued a warning on the impact the storms will make on travel, making it “very difficult to impossible.”
Gallia County Assistant Engineer Kyle Mooney said there are 21 employees, serving various roles to help tend to 909 lane miles across the county.
Mooney said the employees work 16-hour-shifts, keeping county roads clear, depending on the situation. He said the employees also participate in regular training.
“The employees receive annual snow/ice training,” Mooney said via an email to the Tribune. “In the fall, the truck drivers run dry routes and equipment is tested to ensure it is functioning properly.”
Mooney said the county has prep protocols before and during storms.
“Before the storm, management monitors the weather and we prepare by attaching salt/cinder spinners and snow plows to the trucks so they are ready,” Mooney stated. “During the storm, management works with 9-1-1, State Highway Patrol, Gallia County Sheriff’s Office and local school transportation directors to continuously monitor and respond to the storm.”
The county prepares by storing plenty of supply for the winter season, Mooney stated.
“We have approximately 200 ton on hand and an additional 800 ton under contract for this season,” according to Mooney. “We have approximately 6,500 ton of cinders on hand. We stockpile and load cinders, grit and salt/cinder mix for the townships, villages and other government entities in Gallia County.”
As of Friday, the NWS predicts a chance of rain and snow to start before 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 16, followed by rain between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and then rain and snow afterwards. The temperature is predicted to be 23 degrees Sunday night, increasing the chance of ice.
Weather predictions reported as of press time Friday, are subject to change.
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Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.