CHARLESTON, W.Va -- Highway crews embarked on what could be a long week of snow removal in West Virginia as forecasters Monday upgraded the amount that could fall along the state's highest ridge tops to as much as 3 feet, although most residents will see nothing close to that much.
The National Weather Service changed an earlier forecast that had said up to 2 feet of snow was possible. Forecasters also expanded a blizzard warning Monday to at least 14 counties as the massive storm bringing high winds and heavy, wet snow moves through the state.
"We're not taking it lightly," said Marlinton Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Gene Tracy. "We're preparing for the worst - power outages - and getting ready to cut trees if they block the roads."
Weather service meteorologist Tim Axford said the overwhelming majority of residents live in lower elevations where significantly lesser amounts of snow are expected. He said the amount of land above 3,000 feet in West Virginia is minuscule. It does exist in seven counties but there are no towns of significant size involved.
Elkins, in Randolph County, is in a valley at 2,000 feet but is surrounded by significant mountain peaks to the east.
"People that live in Elkins may see 3 to 6 inches" of snow, Axford said, "but people who live just outside could see quite a bit more. It's highly elevation dependent."
No significant power outages were reported Monday, although utility and state emergency services officials have warned that they were possible.
Tracy said Pocahontas County officials are spreading the word that "we ought to keep our heads up and be ready to open shelters."