CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Much of West Virginia is bracing for several inches of snow on the first day of winter, with blizzard conditions possible in some areas Friday.
Nearly three dozen counties were under a winter weather advisory. The National Weather Service says snow could continue through early Saturday in the state's eastern mountains.
Utility and road crews have been preparing for the storm, which was bringing high winds and flurries on Friday morning.
Nearly 6,000 people across the state have lost power so far.
Mon Power reports about 3,700 outages, the bulk of them in Tucker, Upshur, Barbour and Preston counties.
Appalachian Power says 2,600 customers are in the dark. Most of them are in Kanawha, Logan, Lincoln and Mingo counties.
Clark Nicklow, spokesman for the Preston County Office of Emergency Management, said winds are his major concern because they're likely to cause the power outages. Superstorm Sandy left plenty of branches dangling on power lines in October, he said, and the winds could now pull both down.
"We're ready for snow," he said. "Prestonians are always ready for snow."
Authorities recommend everyone be prepared with enough food and water to go three to five days without power
Joe Merchant, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the rain that many areas got Thursday night is now changing to snow. The lowlands can expect 2-3 inches, he said, while the highest elevations in the mountains could get a foot a more. In between, residents can expect 3-6 inches.
Merchant said the storm will move out early Saturday.
In Morgantown, Lowe's manager Bob Brennan said his store was stocking up on storm supplies, but the threat of snow hasn't been driving shoppers.
"Right now," he said, "there's more Christmas shopping than storm shopping."