CHARLESTON, W.Va.--The briskness of fall is drifting into colder weather with some snow in West Virginia's higher elevations and freeze watches forecast for several counties, meteorologists at the National Weather Service say.
"We have a freeze watch in effect for a long list of counties," meteorologist Joe Merchant said Wednesday. "We are seeing some snow in the higher elevations of Pocahontas County. We don't forecast for Preston County, but on their webcam, you can see an inch or so of snow."
A freeze watch has been issued for the counties of Randolph, Pocahontas, Webster, Nicholas, Fayette, Raleigh, Wyoming, McDowell, Taylor, Harrison, Lewis, Gilmer, Doddridge, Ritchie, Tyler, Pleasants and Wood.
"For us it's primarily rain in the Charleston and Huntington areas," he said Wednesday. "We may see snow mixed with rain tonight overnight. There will be no accumulation in the low-lying areas. We will see lower temperatures throughout the week. Lows tonight will be around freezing at 32 or 33."
Thursday's forecast calls for high temperatures to be in the 50s with overnight lows in the upper 20s.
"We have a dry weekend ahead with temperatures in the low to mid 50s," he said. "Friday will be our coolest with temperatures at night in the upper 20s. The high on Friday in Charleston will be 47. Then we will rebound to highs in the mid 50s and lows in the upper 30s or low 40s."
He said the weather is not unusual for this time of year.
"We are transitioning into the cooler season," he said. "Actually, it's late for the mountains. It isn't unusual for our area to get snow with a mix of rain."
Asked if the area can expect a cold and snowy winter, he said the official outlook is due the first week of November.
Ski season in the Mountain State generally begins Thanksgiving week, said Joe Stevens, spokesman for West Virginia Ski Areas Association. Snow flurries have already been spotted at ski resorts in Pocahontas, Tucker and Raleigh counties, he said.
"The first snow gets people thinking that ski season is not far away," he said. "It's like an alarm clock. The first snowfall is an excellent marketing tool for a quarter-billion-dollar industry."
Reaching those ski resorts safely wouldn't be possible without passable roads, however.